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Where does the sun appear in your sky at different times of the day? Use Crayola® Dry-Erase Crayons to record your data as you track the movement of the planet in relation to the sun.
The sun is the most important astronomical object in our sky. It appears to be in motion from east to west along the southern horizon to those in the northern hemisphere. But the sun is stationary and does not move at all! The earth is revolving around it, which is why we have day and night. How could we make observations about how fast the earth is rotating? Invite children to brainstorm ideas.
Students can track the earth’s rotation by making observations of the sun’s placement in the sky relative to landmarks on your school property. Plan to gather data about the sun over the course of a school day. Repeating this activity in fall, winter, and spring could provide children with a basic understanding of how the tilt of the planet results in a different orientation toward the sun.
Begin by creating a data table using Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons on a dry-erase board. Create 5 rows down the left side of the dry-erase board. Label each row 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, and 2:00.
The first time students go outside onto the playground or sidewalk to make observations, show children how to block out the sun with a paper plate to prevent damage to their eyes from the strong rays of light. Also provide each child with Crayola Sidewalk Chalk to trace around their feet so they stand in the same exact location facing in the same direction each time you go outside.
Demonstrate how to locate the sun; then look directly below it along the southern horizon to find an object with which to identify the sun’s placement in the sky. Students will return to the classroom to draw a picture and write some words to describe the sun’s location.
Repeat this activity on each hour, reminding children that the earth is the actual object in motion, not the sun.
Discuss the experience. Make predictions about where the sun will be at other times of the day. How will the track of the sun in the sky change depending on the season? Invite children to write reflections on what they observed and learned about the sun and the earth. Students might respond to the prompt, “Why do we have day and night?”
High school students can teach elementary students about sustainability and environmental issues with this community ser
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