Solar Science: Exploring Sunspots, Seasons, Eclipses, and More
Mon, Mar 21, 2016 9:53 PM
Excellent –a must-have for teachers and homeschoolers of grades 5-8. Extendable to high school as well.
The book includes dozens of hands-on / inquiry-based activities using readily available materials. Guided explorations intrigue students, getting them actively involved to explore then answer questions. Topics include a) understanding and tracking daily motions of the Sun, b) understanding and tracking the annual motion of the Sun and the seasons, c) how solar activity affects the Earth, and d) the Sun, Moon and Earth together – phases, eclipses, cycles, and more. All relate to disciplinary core ideas found in the Next Generation Science Standards. Explanations for teachers include how to have students use an astronomy lab notebook, using the Think-Pair-Share learning strategy, use of the 5 E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) instructional model, integration of cross-curriculum resources, and how to personalize the use of the book for your class’s needs.
The book is gloriously illustrated and beautifully produced. The high-quality imagery from NASA completely engages both teacher and student. The activities chosen are the best-of-the-best, coming from years of experience and use. Personally, I have used many of these for years, in both my NASA education work and in a 4-H Astronomy Project (ages 9-19), with wonderful success.
A bonus with the book is a supplement about the upcoming Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017. Everyone in the US will be able to see at least a portion of the eclipse. This guide gives you most of what you will need to know to experience it.
I absolutely love this book! It is a great example of how science should be taught: not as a collection of topics and facts but rather questions, guided explorations, hands-on equipment, and generating conclusions based on data.
Stanford Solar Center