Eye on the Sky Project FIRST: Fostering Reading Through Science and Technology
The Sun Image
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2. The Sun: An Introduction
Sun Image

See the Activity in Action Summary of Activity:
This lesson introduces the topic of the Sun. Students also begin making entries in their Science Journals.

Duration of Activity:
45 minutes.

Student Prerequisites:
Basic background information on the Solar System is beneficial, but it is not a prerequisite.

Materials:

  • Books:
    The Sun by Seymour Simon

    Sun by Gregory Vogt

    The Sun Our Nearest Star by Franklyn Branley

  • KWL Chart (See Work Sheets Below)
  • Student Science Journals and pencils

Teacher Preparation:
Allow time to locate book and journals for student writing.

Work Sheets:

"KWL Chart" Work Sheets
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"Journal Template" Work Sheets (3 pages)
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Objectives:
Students will understand that the Sun:
  1. Is an enormous ball of hot gas.
  2. Is far away from the Earth and much larger than the Earth.
  3. Provides light and warmth and is necessary for plants and animals to live.
  4. Is our nearest star.

View National Standards AddressedGrade Level:
Grades 1-3

Procedure:
Reading and Questioning

  1. Using a KWL Chart (What Students Know, What they Want to Know, What they Learned), investigate what students know about the Sun. List 4-5 items. A KWL chart identifies students’ current understanding of a topic and simultaneously gives students an opportunity to engage in scientific inquiry as they generate their own questions.
  2. Introduce the topic of the Sun by reading one of the suggested books (listed at left).
  3. Ask students to raise hands if they hear an important Sun word.
  4. Begin a “Science Word Wall” using vocabulary identified by students.
  5. Follow reading with a show of current NASA solar images. SOHO, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory has an excellent set of images (NP-1999-12-199 GSFC) For more information visit: http://soho.nascom.nasa.gov/
  6. Ask students if they have any questions about the Sun. Do this after the reading as young students often do not have the background information needed to pose questions.
  7. With young students, you may want to model how to ask questions. A list of question words (who, what, when, where, why, and how) is a helpful language prompt in the classroom. List 3 or 4 questions on the KWL chart.
  8. Post the chart in a prominent place. As the unit continues, ask students if they can answer any of the questions listed on the chart.

Writing

  1. Ask students to make entries in their science journals using the following three prompts:
    a. What did you study today?
    b. What are some new things you learned today?
    c. What questions do you have about what you learned?
  2. See "Journal Template" (at left) for printable
    • Science Journal cover
    • Science Journal question prompts

Extension Activity:
The book, The Sun Our Nearest Star, contains scientific information and cartoon-like illustrations. The SOHO satellite images of the Sun looks very different than the drawings. Ask students how the two depictions are different. This question allows for a discussion of objects and how they are represented in books and models. This can also be a good time to begin to discuss the differences between fiction and non-fiction writing and between scientific images and artists’ drawings.

Assessment:
The journal entries will give a good indication of what students have learned about the Sun and what kinds of questions they are developing about the topic.

Bibliography:
See related books and websites.

Let Us Know:
How did this lesson work in your classroom?

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