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Motions of the Sun Lab

University of Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project, Astronomy Education at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln

This Motions of the Sun Lab is an interactive applet from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Astronomy Applet project.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Axial tilt of Earth governs incoming sunlight and seasonality
About Teaching Principle 1
Other materials addressing 1c

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

About the Science

  • The NAAP Motions of the Sun Lab uses an animated simulator, along with student guide and background information, to enable students to manipulate variables–including time of day, day of year, and observer's latitude–to understand the apparent motion of the sun in the sky.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Applications are cool, allow for some nice visualization of how an observer's view of the sun path changes and the differences between sidereal and solar time. Without a primer on the celestial coordinate system I fear a student could be a little lost.

About the Pedagogy

  • Several similar NAAP labs (Basic Coordinates and Seasons Lab and The Rotating Sky Lab) precede this activity, but with sufficient student background knowledge, it can be used as a stand-alone.
  • Instructor's page for this activity is at http://astro.unl.edu/naap/motion3/motion3_i.html, along with pre- and post- questionnaires.
  • Very well designed and user-friendly.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Simulator is interesting and draws the player in to figure out how to manipulate the variables. Easy to work with - needs a bit of content support.
  • Requires Adobe Flash Player.

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