Summer Fun Activity: Solar Observation

Summer is a great time to observe the sun!  (No — of course, not directly!)

Seeing the Invisible: A Lesson Giving Students an Opportunity to Discover Ultraviolet and Infrared Radiation Coming From the Sun is a free solar observation lesson from NASA.

Using an engage-explore-explain-elaborate-evaluate framework, this 24-page download includes three activities and two experiments exploring ultraviolet and infrared radiation.  After the investigations, the student will have:

  • Understood what sun products claim to protect consumers from.
  • Studied the areas of the spectrum in which the sun emits light.
  • Recorded a temperature reading from an invisible part of the Sun’s spectra and used the data to write a persuasive article regarding the invisible radiation coming from the sun.
  • Detected ultraviolet radiation.
  • Observed structural features of the sun at different wavelengths.

Granted, this lesson plan does require objects that we may not have handy such as UV beads, a prism, or optional red and green filters.  However, these can be obtained from the recommended sources at a reasonable cost (see Additional Resources below for other options).

A student book with data collection sheets is also available.

This solar observation lesson makes a great transition from summer to homeschool!

Additional Resources
UV Beads

UV Beads
Change color when exposed to sunlight.

Equilateral Glass Prism
Currently best choice for the cost.

Red and Green Filters

Red and Green Filter
These are a bit different than the gel filters recommended.  However, for those interested in doing the optional activity, it is a great option for the cost.  (Just hold them up to your eyes to look at the M&Ms.)

Summer Fun Activity: Sun Prints
Fun go-along activity.

Solar Cycles: A Unit Study

Solar Cycles: A Unit Study
For more sun investigations.

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