Sun-Earth Days 2014

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Sun-Earth Days 2014

K-5th Grade Lesson Plans

Featured Activity

Tracking a Solar Storm Challenge

Join the Tracking a Solar Storm challenge and guide students as they learn about the Sun's anatomy, the space weather it generates, and why studying our star is important.

This challenge is designed around NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission. Scheduled to launch in April 2013, the IRIS spacecraft will study the dynamics of the interface region of our Sun's atmosphere using an ultraviolet telescope and imaging spectrograph. As students participate in the challenge, they will learn about the IRIS mission and the instruments scientists use to gather solar data.

An educators' guide to the IRIS challenge is available on the Tracking a Solar Storm website and includes key information for helping students study the sun's weather, track a solar storm, and predict its effect on Earth. Students will demonstrate what they have learned by collecting data and producing a space weather report.

Timing: February – May 2013

General Sun-Earth Day Activities

Eclipsing the Sun

Use this physical model to demonstrate how an eclipse occurs.

Dancing Lights

Dancing Lights provides a set of five activities that allows students in Grades 3 through 5 to explore the beauty, science and mythology of the aurora creatively through art and writing. Developed through the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. Authors: Emiy CoBabe-Ammann, Erin Wood, Therese Possel, and Kate Becker.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

The Galileo Project is a source of information on the life and work of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Our aim is to provide hypertextual information about Galileo and the science of his time to viewers of all ages and levels of expertise.

Technology Through Time Bulletin Board Activity

This bulletin board activity is designed to focus student attention on the role that sun watching has played in humankind's survival through time. As part of this display you may wish to use your own world map or download one we have created for you.

The Sun: An Introduction

This lesson introduces the topic of the Sun. Students also begin making entries in their Science Journals.

How Big is the Sun? Exploring the Size and Scale of the Sun, Earth and Moon

Students will explore the relative sizes of the Sun, Earth and Moon as they make an impressive large-scale model for classroom use throughout the unit.

What Makes Shadows? Observing and Drawing Shadows

Students learn about shadows as they observe and draw the shadow of a classmate.

What Makes Day and Night? The Earth's Rotation

In this demonstration of day and night, students learn kinesthetically as they take on the role of the Earth orbiting the rotating Sun.

Making Sundials: Observing and Using Shadows

Students build sundials and observe changes in shadows over the course of one or more days.

Create an Edible Model of the Sun (pdf - 1MB)

Studying Our Scintillating Sun: Students will construct an edible model of the Sun denoting surface and interior feature.

All About the Sun

From NASA's Quest's Learning Technologies Channel (at NASA Ames) and the Stanford Solar Center, learn more about the sun from this impressive archive of video clips and materials from past webcasts.


A sunspot can have a magnetic field with a strength up to 10,000 Gauss, but they live very short lives!