Classroom activities help students understand the effect of sunlight on the Earth.
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.
1. Use a Science Process and Thinking Skills
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.
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!
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.
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.