Let's Observe the Sun - Day 2

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SWBAT observe and describe the Sun and where it is located each day in the sky.

Big Idea

Where is the Sun each day? Can you predict where it will be tomorrow at 9am? Come and observe the Sun and make conclusions about the way it moves across our sky.

Setting the Stage:

National Science Education Science Standards Connection:

The National Science Education Standards has said that making observations is key to inquiry-based and discovery-focused learning in science instruction. In order to do this students participate in inquiry-based learning that allows them to solve a problem in science through observation, discourse and using a science journal. Students will then be give a chance to share their findings with their peers and then reflect on their own understanding.

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:

In this lesson students continue to observe the sun. 1-ESS1-1 asks students to use observations to explore the predictable patterns of our sun.  Students are taking home a Science Bag and Sun Journal to observe and record the sunset.  Each day the Sun Journal is shared and the findings are recorded on our classroom sunset calendar.

Sun Observations:

Students observe the sun three times a day for a week. We record their observations on our sun chart each day and use these findings to observe the patterns of the sun.

Home to School Connection:

We will be learning about the sun, the stars and moon. The NGSS asks that students to observe, describe and predict how the sun and moon changes over a period of time. I send home two science bags that will allow students to observe the night sky.

The Sun Bag: In order for students to observe the changes of our sunset, each day a different student takes home our Sun Bag that includes a Sunset Observations sheet, The Sun: Our Nearest Star by Franklyn M. Branley, a box of crayons and a parent letter. Students record his/her findings on our class Sunset Calendar. We observe the sun for a full month so that we can observe, describe and predict the sunset changes.

The Moon Bag: In order for students to observe the change of the moon, each day a different student takes home our Moon Bag which includes a Moon Observation Form (black paper), The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons, white crayons and a parent letter. Then students record his/her findings on our class Moon Calendar. We observe the moon for a full month so that we can observe, describe and predict the changes it goes through in one full cycle. If the moon is not visible that student will record the night sky and then the next day we will predict what it would have looked like had it been seen.

Classroom Structures:

In order to support a high level of student discourse within my science lessons I have assigned two different student partnerships.  Turn and Talk Partners are discourse partners that work together to share the deep thinking that happens throughout the day.  Workshop Partners are partners who are matched together for the purpose of working during our independent times.  In this lesson students will be engaged in both partnerships.


Earth and Sky Unit - Parent letter

Video: The Sun is a Gas

KLEWS anchor chart: What are the patterns of the sun? - Continued from "The Sun - Day 1"

Sunshine Observations Day 2


Book: Exploring Space: The Sun by Colleen Sexton

Science Journal -Prompt: What do you notice about the patterns of the Sun?


15 minutes

In order to develop a culture that encourages student engagement, curiosity and a desire to understand the world through scientific exploration. I begin this lesson activating prior knowledge for my young students with this fun video about the sun.

In our last lesson we started our KLEWS anchor chart titled, "Does the sun have predictable patterns? If so, what are they?"

A KLEWS anchor chart is described as a tool that allows students to track their learning throughout an investigation, building up to the understanding of a scientific principle. Our KLEWS chart will track the learning about the sun for our next lessons.

Boys and girls looking at our KLEWS chart from our last lesson you learned that the Sun moves across the day sky.  Today we are going to make some more observations to determine whether or not this is a pattern that repeats.  Let's write this new question under W-What are we still wondering?

I record our new question, "Does the Sun have a pattern that repeats? under the "W-What are we still wondering" section of our KLEWS chart.


25 minutes

In this lesson we go outside again to observe of the sun at the three same times as in our last lesson: morning, lunch and afternoon.  Instead of using our science journals I have provided my students a Sunshine Observations Day 2 worksheet to help make this learning more visual.  Students will note the position of the sun throughout the day as well as the sky and weather conditions, such as clouds or rain, and the appearance of the sun as a result. Back in the classroom, we record our findings on our Sun Observation Chart and write our findings and evidence on our KLEWS anchor chart.

Today we are going to observe the sun again. Remember, you must wear your sunglasses and you may not look directly at the sun because it is not good for your eyes. We are going to continue to study the sun's patterns.  Today you are going to observe where the sun is located in our day sky using a ruler.  Your job is to put the ruler at the horizon (that is where the sky meets the land) and figure out how many rulers it takes to get to the sun.

We head outside to do some more Sun observations. Attending to precision is a skill that I work on all year with my first grade students. I encourage my students to create accurate representations in their drawings.  I ask them to pay close attention to the color, lines, and where it is located in the sky. I ask questions like: Is it up high or low? Is it really bright? Is it light?  Is it completely round?

Each student takes along a clip board, writing tools, and their observation sheets and head outside to do some observations.

As my students work I walk around and confer with each group naming and noticing the smart thinking happening. Conferring is the process of listening and recording the work the student or students are doing and then compliment the work. As I listen, I research a teaching point and then work to provide clarification through questioning, modeling and re-teaching. My goal with this conference is to prompt each group with questions that will allow for their illustrations to be accurate representations of the Sun. I want them to notice where the Sun is located and how it looks different at different parts of the day.  I want my students to make the connection that the Sun moves across the sky each day in the same pattern.  I guide them to notice that at 9am each day the Sun is in the same spot and that is the same for 12pm and 3pm.

At our 3pm observations the students could not wait to get outside to see if the sun had moved.  As we walked outside the students began yelling, "It is a pattern! It is a pattern!! The Sun has a pattern!"  They could not wait to share their findings.


10 minutes

The common core writing standards asks student to focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.  My students share their drawing and respond to feedback and/or questions from their peers. Simultaneously, the NGSS asks students to analyze and interpret data by building on prior experiences by collecting, recording, and sharing observations.

In the classroom my students share their observations with their peers and draw conclusions about their findings. We record these findings on our KLEWS chart along with our evidence.

After spending a few minutes looking in our science journals at our evidence, we meet back in our meeting area to fill our KLEWS anchor chart. In this video you will see how I guided my students to reflect on their learning and together we filled in our KLEWS anchor chart.


10 minutes

The Common Core Literacy Standards asks that students recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. The book I have chosen for this section is Exploring Space: The Sun by Colleen Sexton. For this read aloud I engage students in a discussion after small segments of text rather than after reading the entire text (pages 4-5 & 18-19).  I want my students to carefully consider ideas and I use this interactive read aloud to clarify misconceptions.


5 minutes

The Science and Engineering Practice 4 asks students to analyze data. At the K-2 level this involves students collecting, recording, and sharing observations. In this lesson the students are recording information, thoughts and ideas in their science journals. I send my students back to their science journals and ask them to write the answer to our big question: "What do you notice about the patterns of the Sun?"  Can you draw any conclusions about the way it moves across our sky?

As the students write I tell them to refer back to the research we did today. I am looking for answers like, "The Earth rotates and it makes it look like the Sun is moving across the sky" or "The Sun is in the same spot at 9am each day." This formative assessment gives me insight on the learning that is taking place.