Science - 3rd Grade
Standard 5 Objective 1
Group activities help students understand the role of the sun as the source of heat and light for living things on Earth. They will also understand the role of friction in creating heat.
Energy Makes Things Happen, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science); ISBN 0-06-445213-1
Experiments With the Sun and the Moon, by Salvatore Tocci (A True Book Series); ISBN 0- 516-22605-3
Heat Wave, by Helen Ketteman; ISBN 0-8027-7577-2 Sun, by Dana Meachen Rau; ISBN 0-7565-0440-6
The Sun, by Dan Elish (Space Group 2); ISBN 978-0-7614-2048-4
The Sun, by Margaret J. Goldstein (Lerner Publications Company); ISBN 0-8225-4647-7
The Sun: Our Nearest Star, by Franklyn M. Branley (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science); ISBN 0-06-445202-6
The Sun, by Isaac Asimov (Isaac Asimov's 21st Century Library of the Universe); ISBN 0- 8368-3242-6
What if the Polar Caps Melted? by Katherine Friedman (What If? Series); ISBN 0-516-23914-7
All About Light, Physical Science for Children Series, (Schlessinger Science Library) Library Video Company VHS DK7109, DVD DV8854
Bill Nye the Science Buy Series Three -- The Sun, (Disney Educational Productions) Library Video Company VHS DN2248, DVD DW0599
All About the Sun -- Space Science for Children, (Schlessinger Science Library) Library Video Company ISBN 1-57225-234-0
The sun is an average-sized star that has been burning for about 4.6 billion years. The distance from the sun's center to its surface is about 695,500 kilometers (432,000 miles), approximately 109 times the radius of Earth. The interior of the sun reaches temperatures of more than 15,000,000 degrees C, (27,000,000 F). It is a nuclear furnace producing energy, free of pollution. Although 4,000,000 tons of the sun's matter turns into energy every second, only one-billionth of the sun's light and heat ever strikes Earth.
The sun is the center of our universe. Earth and other planetary systems revolve around the sun. The sun appears to move across the sky from east to west because of Earth's counterclockwise rotation. As Earth rotates and the part of Earth we are on turns towards the sun, we see it appear to rise above the horizon. We also experience seasons and varying amounts of daylight, caused by the 23 1⁄2 degree tilt of the Earth as it revolves around the sun. The moon does not produce any heat or light. The moon's light we experience on Earth is reflected sunlight off the moon's surface.
The sun is Earth's main source of heat and light. Heat and light from the sun's rays is called solar energy and is essential for life on Earth. The warming of Earth's atmosphere is called the greenhouse effect. Earth's climate is warming in response of atmospheric accumulation of heat-trapping gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is produced from power plants and burning fossil fuels, and it is responsible for about half of the warming of the climate. The other main gases responsible for the greenhouse effect are nitrogen oxide (N40) produced by automobile exhaust, methane (CH4) produced by decaying plants and animals, rotting garbage, humans and animals passing gas, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) found in refrigerators, air conditioners, foamed plastics, and other man-made products.
Over the past few centuries, people have been burning more amounts of fuel, such as wood, coal, oil, natural gas, and gasoline. The result, some experts believe, will be Earth heating up and undergoing global warming. Some scientists believe the build up of CO2 in the atmosphere may be caused by deforestation, which reduces the number of trees available to absorb CO2. Some solar scientists are considering whether the warming exists, wholly or in part, by a small increase in the Sun's energy output. An increase of only 0.2% in the solar output could have the same effect as doubling the carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. Many fear that the rise in temperature of the Earth's atmosphere will disrupt weather patterns, causing the polar icecaps to melt and release more water into the oceans. This increase in the water level might cause the ocean's saline concentration to weaken, threatening marine species and flooding coastal areas.
1. Use science process and thinking skills.
3. Understand science concepts and principles.
4. Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.
Invitation to Learn
Let the Sun Shine
This activity will introduce the students to the sun as they discover how life on Earth benefits from solar energy.
Prior to this activity, you must collect the following "props" and place them in a box at the front of the room: sunglasses, teddy bear, hand fan, picture of the sun, flashlight, hand mirror, plastic stemmed flower, umbrella, Frisbee, bottle of sunscreen, "Sun", "Earth", and "Moon" nametags.
Cut apart and distribute parts from Let the Sun Shine master to the students. Allow them to read their parts in advance so they are comfortable with their actions and script.
Stand back and let them perform.
We will discover the effects of heating water in different containers using solar energy. Students will discover how container size, color, and materials change the effects of solar energy. When setting up the experiment it is important to maintain constant variables except for those that are being tested. Constant (or controlled variables) would be such things as: the amount of water measured; the amount of time used conducting the experiment, the type of ground surface, etc. Manipulated (or independent) variables are those things we change in response to our intended hypothesis, such as: the size of pans, the pan's color, the pan's material, or the pan's location in relation to the amount of solar energy available.
Curriculum Extensions/Adaptations/ Integration
4 correct, complete, detailed
3 mostly correct & complete, fairly detailed
2 partially correct & complete, lacks some detail
1 incorrect, incomplete, missing important detail
0 no attempt
Lasley, T.J. & Matczynski, T.J. (1997). Strategies for Teaching in a Diverse Society: Instructional Models
Only teachers who utilize a variety of instructional models will be successful in maximizing the achievement of all students. Teachers need to "play to" students' strengths and to mitigate students' learning weaknesses. This can be done only through the use of instructional variety.
Danielson, C., (2002). Enhancing Student Achievement: A Framework for School Improvement, pp. 73
Only by building and strengthening links with other institutions in the community can schools achieve their full mission. Local individuals and organizations -- families and caregivers, public and private agencies, the business community, and colleges and universities -- should not be regarded as competitors, but rather as partners in the education of the community's children.