This video takes kids on a trip to the center of the solar system to investigate the most important star to us, the sun! Kids in 1st grade may not understand that the sun is a star. To them, stars are the small white dots that twinkle in the night sky or 5 pointed shapes that tell them they did a good job. The idea that what we see during the day, a big ball of burning hot fire that hurts our eyes to look at is the same as the twinkling white dots we wish on and count, can be hard for kids this age.
What is a star?
This video does a good job showing students how awesome our sun is. It starts by asking the question, what is a star? They explain that all stars are made up of super-hot gas. Our sun is made of hydrogen and helium. The next question they answer is why the stars at night look so different from the sun. The video explains the sun is much closer to Earth than the other stars.
Light and Heat
Next, the video goes on to explain why the sun is so special to us. It is the largest object in our solar system. It provides light and heat for our planet, allowing life to exist. The video allows the kids to think and expand their understanding by asking how the sun affects the Earth. They provide a few examples, including seasons, weather, and the food chain.
Another function of the sun covered in this video is gravity. They explain that gravity is an invisible force that pulls on objects. It keeps the planets in orbit and us on the ground. Even though the sun is the closest star, it is still 93 million miles or more than 170 years away (by car). They do a great job illustrating this concept in a way children will understand. They also cover the idea that it takes 8 minutes for the light of the sun to reach us.
How Hot is the Sun?
Next, the video goes on to explain how hot the sun is. They use the example of an oven, the hottest thing kids are familiar with. An oven can only get as hot as 500F, and the sun is 10,000F on the surface. At the core, it is even hotter. The sun also has storms. It is like tornados of energy called solar flares. So, if it’s too hot to visit the sun, how do scientists study it? They use tools like telescopes and satellites. We should never look at the sun ourselves, it is so bright it could hurt our eyes. The tools the scientists use to keep their eyes safe.
Our sun is pretty amazing! Without it, we wouldn’t have light or heat that allows life to exist. We wouldn’t have food, seasons, or weather. Without the sun’s gravity, we would all fly through space! This video does an excellent job showing the sun’s importance to our world in a way 1st graders can enjoy.
This video would make a fantastic start for introducing the topic of the sun within the solar system. You could also use it to springboard a discussion that helps engage the kids’ imagination and creative thinking. You could also use this video to start a unit observing patterns. For example, does the sun rise and set in the same place every day? This video will spark questions and wonder for kids in the 1st grade.
Aligned with Next Generation Science Standards: 1-ESS1-1 Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted. Examples of patterns could include that the sun and moon appear to rise in one part of the sky, move across the sky, and set; and stars other than our sun are visible at night but not during the day. Assessment of star patterns is limited to stars being seen at night and not during the day.
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