A Solar Energy Cycle

by: Gregory Childs

In sixth grade, students understand that Earth gets visible light from the Sun, but students may also believe the Earth gets heat from the Sun. This last part is incorrect because the Sun is too far from the Earth to heat it directly. So, how does the Sun heat the Earth? When light strikes an object, it can be reflected or absorbed. Absorbed light usually increases the energy in an object, which causes the object to heat up.

The following solar energy learning cycle (Exploration, Term Introduction, and Concept Application) was developed to help sixth-grade students better understand the concept. This learning cycle also facilitates technology integration and provides students opportunities to construct and generate experiments with scientifically testable questions. The cycle takes six 50-minute periods.


Type Journal ArticlePub Date 3/1/2007Stock # sc07_044_07_26Volume 044Issue 07

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