This lesson can be taught using stand-alone thinking. This is because although there is a bit of new information regarding the Sun that is given to students, the bulk of the lesson involves reading thermometers and is focused on temperature. Students already have this background knowledgea and it will not be difficult for them to master this task. Students will listen to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles and a class discussion will be led discussing their current knowledge about the Sun. We will discuss the planets' rotations around the Sun. Students will physically stand up and act out the parts of the planets orbiting. The students will be able to understand the Sun as they use these actions.
Many students have preconceived notions about the Sun or ideas they have heard which may or may not be accurate. These thoughts the students will share will allow a dialectical relationship to be exhibited. The teacher will be able to provide the accurate facts on the subject and students will begin to change some of their ideas. The teacher, or the more knowlegeable other, will teach some basic facts about the Sun:
The sun is a star that produces heat and light. The sun has rays that provide the heat and light that is essential for life on Earth. It supports life through photosynthesis in plants, and provides warmth and light. In addition to supporting life on Earth, sunlight is critical to human physical and psychological well-being. The benefits of the sun include keeping Earth’s temperatures warm enough to sustain life, providing light, and helping plants grow by providing food.The Sun provides heat and light energy (amongst other forms of energy) that are vital for life on Earth. This occurs because heat travels to cooler places. The interior of the sun reaches temperatures of almost 16 million degrees C, (28.8 million F).
Students will then begin their learning activity which focuses on temperature from the Sun. The cultural tool of thermometers will be used, as students monitor and record temperatures throughout the day.
Divide the students into groups.
Pass out construction paper, scissors, glue, and rulers to make temperature pockets.
Instruct students to measure two 6” x 6” inch squares of each color. Glue three sides together to form a pocket.
Review how to read a thermometer.
Students place strip thermometers inside the pockets and place all four pockets outside in the sun for the first part of the experiment.
Students predict what they think the temperatures will be for each color of pocket.
Check the pockets periodically for morning temperatures and for afternoon temperatures.
Record temperatures. *Variations may include placing the pockets in a shaded area and check for temperatures during the following day.
Journal the results and compare. Have students journal the steps used to experiment with the pockets and thermometers. (Draw pictures) Did the color of the paper make a difference in the heat recorded? Where was the pocket placed directly in the sun, in a shaded area? Consider questions such as: Which color of paper do you think will heat up the most? And why the students think there is a difference in the temperature.
The students will continue to leave the thermometers outside and check the temperatures periodically as the seasons change.
As students work closely with classmates and receive slight guidance from the more knowledgeable other, they will be working in their zone of proximal development. They will be able to stretch themselves just enough that learning and mastery will take place.
The set up of this lesson provides the students with much needed scaffolding. As the lesson begins there is a small amount of teacher instruction and review of material about the Sun. The students are then given instructions for the hands on activity. This activity allows the students to primarily work independently with a small amount of teacher assistance if needed. As the students continue to check the thermometers periodically they will do so indpendently and record the information without any teacher aid.