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TRB 3:5 - Investigation 3 - It's Hot

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


Classroom activities help students understand the effect of sunlight on the Earth.



Additional Resources


  • Light and Dark by Jack Challoner (Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers)
  • The Night Book by Pamela Hickman (Kids Can Press)
  • The Sun Space Observer Series (Heinemann Interactive Library)
  • The Mountain that Loved a Bird by Alice McLerran (Scholastic)

Background for Teachers

Without the warmth of the sun's rays, Earth would be frozen. Even at 93 million miles away, the sun warms Earth just enough to provide for the existence of people and animals. Depending on the sun's position, living things are affected differently.

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. Use a Science Process and Thinking Skills

Instructional Procedures

Pre-Assessment/Invitation to Learn

One at a time, have each child pick an article of clothing out of the bag. Depending on the article they choose, have them stand by a sign saying "Hot Day," or a sign reading, "Cold Day." Discuss why there is a difference in the clothes we wear. Talk about how to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. Explain some misconceptions (misunderstandings) about heat sources here and in Heat Misconceptions Activity. One example would be that wool clothing does not produce heat and make you feel warmer.

Teach the children about sun safety. Too much sun can hurt our skin. Have the children add things on the Ralphie is Hot worksheet to protect him. These things include sun screen, drinking water, hat, shade, or sunglasses.

Instructional Procedure


Make a solar cooker during this lesson, or have students check out the Heat Science Kit, which includes instructions for making a solar cooker. Cook with the sun's rays by "toasting" graham cracker sandwiches the solar way!


  1. Divide into groups of three or four and give each group a large cake pan.
  2. Have each group line its container with aluminum foil (shiny side out).
  3. Each group member will place some chocolate chips and marshmallows on a graham cracker square and set it in his or her group's container.
  4. Have them cover the containers with paper toweling and observe how long it takes for the chocolate and marshmallow to melt.
  5. After this treat has been "toasted," let each child place another graham cracker square on top of the melted goo to make a sandwich.
  6. While each group shares it results with the class, let the children enjoy their solar snack.
  7. Discuss if this experiment would work in another season.


Math -

  • Employ estimation strategies by predicting the amount of time needed to cook the graham cracker sandwiches. (Standard V, Objective 1)


  • The students draw a picture about animal survival. Draw several pictures of how animals survive in winter and several drawings of heat adaptations for animals. (Standard III, Objective 2)


  • Have the students decide other things that could be cooked in a solar cooker. Decide where the most effective places for solar cooking might be. (ILOs 1, 2, 3)

Homework & Family Connections

Students could check out the Heat Science Kit.

Caroling is an activity associated with cold, winter weather, hot chocolate, favorite songs, and warm feelings. Choose some favorite summer songs. When the class has had several practice sessions, set a date for caroling. Ask other teachers in the school if your class may carol for their classes. Then lead your group through the hallways, stopping at doorways to sing for each class. Be sure to tell the children to wear sunhats, sunglasses, sandals, and other appropriate summer attire. Serve a cool treat such as refreshing lemonade when you return to your classroom.

Tell the children to go home and sing some of these songs for their families and plan a neighborhood summer activity. Have them report on their plan and ask if their family actually carried it out.

Assessment Plan


Give each child a small Carson-Dellosa Sunshine, or sunshine cutouts (pdf), stapled with four blank yellow 3" x 3" yellow sticky notes. Have the children write at least four things that they learned about the sun. If they want to write more, they can write on the backs of the paper.

Created: 06/23/2004
Updated: 05/23/2022