Learning About The Sun

We have been doing our solar system unit in school these past few weeks. It seems as though it will continue until the school year is over. It seems we cover more and more material each class session than I assume we will. However, I am not complaining. More education was never said to be a bad thing. And so I take it as that. I originally planned to cover each part of the solar system {each planet, the moon, the sun, the stars...etc} in a day's study course. However, it seems that we cover one planet in a two week time span. So that's why I believe we will just continue on with this and just finish the school year up with it.

I first began the lesson with learning about the Moon. My daughter bought a telescope with her own money and we began to view the moon each night. It was pretty cool. I had always wanted a telescope as a child and was so excited when she wanted to buy herself one.

The project we attempted with our Moon studies was cut short because the moon started to become less visible and not even there most nights due to too many clouds in the night sky. We decided to stop and move onto the Sun and come back to the Moon on a later date when the weather would be more appropriate for viewing.

So for the Sun, we started off with a lot of YouTube videos and websites that showed so many cool views and photos of the sun and the solar flares. I wanted to try and incorporate some hands on projects.

So we did two projects to go along with learning about the Sun. The first one was how to show that the Earth is rotating around the Sun and that we get different times of the day because of that rotation. You can't feel a difference, but you can see it when the sun comes up in the morning and disappears at night.

I decided to use the Human Sun Dial project first. This way my daughter could have a great visual of just how shadows and rotation works at different times of the day and where the sun is shinning down from.

We started outside at 11am. I had her stand in one place and mark it so that we knew where to stand each time we went back out. I traced her shadow with chalk and put the hour above it. Then we went back inside. Each hour, on the hour, we went back outside and she stood back on the same spot and we traced her shadow again.

We did this until 5pm. She was so amazed that each time, her shadow had moved. She had no idea it was going to do that, which made this even more fun because of her surprised look and curious questions as to why her shadow not only moved, but looked different each hour.

So while we were doing this, we were also working on some Sun art in between. I found a fun Sun activity that I knew she would love that involved paint. So we decided to give it a try and create our own.

You first trace a circle onto a piece of white cardstock. We traced it as large as we could to fill up the paper. Then I had her take red, orange, and yellow paint and start making lots of swirls all over the paper inside the circle we had drawn.
Just have fun and cover as much as you can without going too overboard. Next we took some saran wrap and carefully placed it directly on top of the paint. My daughter pressed down on it. I told her not to try and smear it everywhere but just kind of push the paint slightly so that it filled the empty spots.
Once it was where she was pleased with it, we removed the saran wrap carefully and set the painting aside to dry. 
Once it was dry, we cut it out and placed it on black paper as if the ball of fire was sitting in the deep, dark space. I think it turned out pretty cool. It looked like how real fire would flow and a great concept on representing the sun through paint.


  1. This is great! My son and I enjoyed seeing all of your fun activities! Thanks for sharing :-)

  2. Neat sundial and sun painting! We're doing astronomy right now, too.