Stanford Solar Center
About the SunFor StudentsFor EducatorsSpace Weather Monitors
Ancient ObservatoriesSolar FolkloreSolar Art & Literature

For Educators

Our web site provides a collection of multi-disciplinary, interactive exercises and activities based on the Sun and solar science, most geared to grades 4-12. We encourage your feedback, suggestions, and ideas for new projects.
We also offer solar spectroscopes that your students can cut out and put together (see Activity 1 below). These come complete with gratings, as well as instructions for construction and use. Additional solar posters are available as well. To order spectroscopes or solar posters. If you wish to order enough spectroscopes or posters for an entire class, please contact us at for details.

Science Education Content Standards

1. Build Your Own Spectroscope
Students build a working spectroscope to study the nature of light. (Younger students use a prism to learn about the rainbow.) Spectroscopes and gratings available from the Stanford SOLAR Center.
Grades 2-4, 5-14
2. Effects of the Sun on our Planet
Students experiment with plants, light, heat, and water evaporation. They experiment with solar cells to design a simple solar cooker, create a "solar-powered" method to perform a routine task, or build a parabolic solar collector. They explore radio signals during daytime and nighttime. Older students construct an ionosphere monitor to track solar storms and other changes in ionosphere
Grades 2-4, 5-8, 9-12
3. What is Ultraviolet Light?
Explores ultraviolet light -- what it is, where it comes from, how we can detect it, and what effects it has upon us and our Earth. Using (inexpensive to order) UV sensitive beads, the students test the beads with various levels of sunscreen protection, as well as the quality of UV protecting sunglasses. Surprises await when using the beads on cloudy days.
Grades 2-4, 5-8, 9-12
4. Retrieving Solar Images
Students are instructed to use the web every day to retrieve a current solar image. Subsequent activities will show the students how to use the data for scientific purposes.
Grades 4-12
5. The Spinning Sun
Students use their solar data to (estimate or) compute, using angular velocity, the Sun's rotation period.
Grades 6-12
6. Sunspot Races
Using daily solar images, students predict when spots will disappear or reappear from view on the solar disk.
Grades 3-5
7. Observing the Sun
Information on building pinhole cameras, using telescopes, accessing an online solar telescope, observing eclipses, and sketching sunspots. Includes pointers to related activities.
Grades 4-14
8. An Interview with Mr. Sol
Students do some research on the Sun then, in pairs, generate an "interview" with The Star to determine how he (she?) works. An Example.
Grades 4-6
9. Sun-Centered Physics
Sun-related physics-based lessons on energy, motion, electromagnetic radiation, fission and fusion.
Grades 11-12
10. Are Sunspots Really on the Sun?
Students measure sunspot speeds and shapes across the solar disk to determine whether the spots are on the Sun or are planets revolving around it (Galileo's dilemma). Includes pointer to hands-on demonstration of concepts.
Grades 6-9
11. Solar Music
Introduction to helioseismology -- Solar music. Encourages the students to realize you can learn about an object by listening to it, just as astonomers listen to the Sun's "heartbeat" to learn about its interior.
Grades K-3
12. Hearing the Sun
Students listen to sound waves generated from acoustical waves on the Sun. An animated video is provided to visualize the acoustic wave generation (by large scale solar granulation). A hands-on activity is suggested for younger students and introductory information about helioseismology for older students.
Grades 4-14
13. Quick Quizzes
a. Understanding the Solar Scale
b. Galileo Challenge
c. Solar Granulation Quiz
d. Sunspot Quiz
Self-guided quizzes designed to assess current knowledge and intrigue students about the Sun.
Grades 6-8
14. Earth-based Solar Phenomena
Suggested questions and topics for research on ways the Sun affects our Earth. Touches on auroras, rainbows, sun pillars, the green flash, sun pillars, etc. Gives pointers for more detailed information. Primarily designed for individual exploration.
Grades 4-12
15. Make Your Own Sundial
Exploratorium activity where students determine their latitute and construct a sundial.
Grades 4-8
16. Art Based on Science
Selection of images used to visualize or process scientific data. Images were chosen because of their visual appeal. However, class discussion could focus on techniques of data visualization and/or the physical properties described by the imagery. Have students develop imagery to describe their own (not necesssarily solar) data.
Grades 6-12
17. Solar Art, Literature, Poetry
Students are invited to generate and submit images, poetry, or literature inspired by the Sun or solar science. Submissions from students are displayed.
Grades K-5+
18. Multicultural Solar Interpretations
A selection of information about folklore, ancient astronomy, rock art, and other interpretations of the Sun's connection with Earth. Designed to introduce the notion of various cultural approaches to interpreting the Sun.
Grades K-12
19. Global Warming
To what extent does the Sun's variability contribute to global warming? Students are given guidelines and places to start for independent research projects on the causes and effects of global warming.
Grades 10-12
20. Magnetism
Students will learn the basic principles of magnetism and how they apply to the Sun.
Grades 11-12
Visit From Now On for information and resources on integrating technology into learning environments.
Home · Request Solar Posters · Site Map · Glossary · About Us · Contact Us
©2008 by Stanford SOLAR Center · Permitted Uses · Credits