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This is an activity about measuring angular size and understanding the solar and lunar proportions that result in solar eclipses. Learners will use triangles and proportions to create a shoebox eclipse simulator. They will then apply what they learn... (View More)

In this activity, students engage in an ongoing investigation to find patterns of sunlight and shadow in a classroom (or any room that gets sunlight) at different times of the day and different times of the year. Students look for repeating... (View More)

This activity enables students to better understand the motion of the Sun and how we use it to measure time. Students create a "horizon calendar" at their school by carefully observing and recording the horizon and the Sun at sunset (or sunrise, for... (View More)

This activity explores how ancient Sun observers made use of natural and built structures to mark solar alignments observed at different times of the year, particularly around the solstices and equinoxes. In Part 1, the teacher prepares a horizon... (View More)

This is a lesson plan for an activity that explores time zone math. Learners will translate their local time to times in other zones around the world and work with the concept of Universal Time, specifically in reference to the reporting,... (View More)

In this activity, students engage in long-term systematic observation to learn about the apparent annual motion of the Sun caused by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Students put a dot on a window where sunlight enters the classroom (or any room... (View More)

In this activity, students learn about the motion of the Sun in relation to the Earth, and how geographic directions are defined. Students use a tetherball pole (or an alternative) as a gnomon and the shadow the Sun casts to determine the exact... (View More)

In this activity, students learn the basics of the horizon, direction and the rising and settings of the Sun and stars by making a schoolyard "medicine wheel" with sidewalk chalk on playground asphalt. Medicine wheels are stone rings constructed by... (View More)

This is an activity about the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Learners will plot the Auroral Oval in the northern hemisphere and determine the height of the northern lights using Carl Stormer's triangulation method. This activity corresponds to... (View More)

This is an activity about seasonal variations in day length. Learners will graph the number of daylight hours in each month in cities around the world and compare results. They will also gain an understanding of the meaning of the term equinox... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free per student