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What Does the Sun Give Us? (5 Activities)

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Grades

5-8, 9-12

Subject

Solar

Summary

You may have realized that the sun gives off heat. It feels so good to feel the warm sun on our skin when we're cold! The sun has an amazing amount of heat and even though we only get a small amount of that heat, it's just the right amount for us. You also may have realized how much light it provides us. Without the sun, we couldn't see. What about the moon? The moon doesn't have any light of its own. All of the light we see is really sunlight that is reflected or bounced off our moon.

Where does the energy to build, light, and heat our houses and schools come from? The sun has actually created almost all of the energy we use today. If we want to find more energy, we can look back to the sun itself. All the light and heat we feel is energy that we might be able to use. How much energy could the sun give us? How much would this energy cost us? How can we capture the energy and use it for our needs? This lesson has five experiments that will begin to answer these questions. The activities are:

  • Pizza box solar heater
  • Solar resource simulator
  • Measuring solar radiation
  • Length of day around the world
  • Capture solar energy
Curriculum

Social Studies, Language Arts, English, Math, Communications

Plan Time

Varies by activity

Materials

Varies by activity

Standards

Science Content Standards: 5-8 CONTENT STANDARD A: Science As Inquiry

  • Abilities Necessary To Do Scientific Inquiry
  • Understandings About Scientific Inquiry

CONTENT STANDARD B: Physical Science

  • Transfer of Energy

CONTENT STANDARD D: Earth Science

  • Earth in the Solar System

CONTENT STANDARD E: Science and Technology

  • Abilities of technological design
  • Understandings about science and technology

Science Content Standards: 9-12 CONTENT STANDARD A: Science As Inquiry

  • Abilities Necessary To Do Scientific Inquiry
  • Understandings About Scientific Inquiry

CONTENT STANDARD B: Physical Science

  • Conservation of energy and increase in disorder
  • Interactions of energy and matter

CONTENT STANDARD D: Earth Science

  • Energy in the Earth System

CONTENT STANDARD E: Science and Technology

  • Abilities of technological design
  • Understandings about science and technology
Owner

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Lesson Plans/Activity