NASA Discovery Program, Carnegie Institution of Washington and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
Activity takes two to three 45-minute lesson periods. Additional materials needed.Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing 1a
Other materials addressing Sun
1.2 Thermal energy.
2.2 Sources of energy on Earth.
Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks
Notes From Our Reviewers
The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness.
Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about
how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Before introducing this activity, it is suggested to read the extensive background materials.
- While the guide states that this activity takes 2 hours, with the extensive equation-based investigations, this activity could take much longer and requires a knowledge of physics.
- Because there are many variables that would affect this experiment, try this experiment before using.
- Procuring the flat-sided glass bottles may be difficult. Flat plastic culture bottles may be easier to procure than flat-sided glass bottles, although the plastic will retain some of the energy and impact results. Try a local biotech or pharmaceutical company for some free samples. Be sure to try the experiment with these culture bottles before using the experiment.
About the Science
- Students explore the structure of the Sun, the electromagnetic spectrum, and the role of the Sun in making the earth habitable for life.
- Students measure the solar constant by measuring the temperature change in a bottle of water as it is exposed to sunlight.
- Well-written and thorough background material provided.
- It should be noted that Messenger arrived at Mercury in March, 2011.
- This activity provides a rigorous study of determining the solar constant and is supported by many equation-based explorations.
- Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.
About the Pedagogy
- Lesson contains a hands-on portion and a worksheet portion that could be done in small groups.
- Students must be able to manipulate equations and solve for variables to successfully complete the worksheet.
- Lesson contains many teaching suggestions.
- This activity could be a lab assignment in an undergraduate intro science course. The various segments of this activity can be used individually.
- While the activity mentions, as one of the objectives students will learn, that sunlight and the electromagnetic spectrum are the main tools with which we study objects in the Solar System, this is peripheral to the main activity.
- The Potential for Solar Energy Use section ties the activity to the students' lives.
- There are multiple extensions suggested where students can design and manipulate different variables. The lesson also notes opportunities to engage students in discussions about experimental error.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.
Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.