Solarscapes
presents middle school students with
a short, focused study of the physical
nature
of the
Sun. This standardsbased curriculum,
which was designed to enhance the Institute’s
traveling exhibition, Electric Space, is
available to download. The principal developers
were Ramon Lopez (presently at the University
of Texas at El Paso) and Beverly Meier (a
middle school educator in Boulder). Students
learn that the Sun has many observable features,
including Sunspots, that can be plotted and
analyzed. When they plot the average number
of Sunspots per year, a distinct pattern
emerges—the Sunspot cycle. As an
embedded assessment, students are asked
to predict
the beginning of the next Sunspot cycle
and the number of Sunspots at maximum.
Finally,
students use solar images of Sunspots
to determine the Sun's period of rotation.
Summary of Solarscapes Activities:
 Features
of the Sun
Students study various features of the Sun in order to understand how
the Sun varies.
 Sunspot
Number Variations
Students find the patterns that emerge when Sunspot numbers are plotted
over a period of time.
 Determining
the Rate & Period of Rotation
Students learn how to determine the rotation rate of a sphere with
identifiable features.
 The
Sun's Period of
Rotation
Students learn how Sunspots can be used to determine the rotation period
of the Sun.
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