These awesome activities come from the NISEnet website which has activity guides, learning objectives, instructions and signs you can print out (in English and Spanish) as well as instructional videos!
Bear's Shadow - This activity is to explore the basic idea of shadows with younger kids. How does the sun create a shadow on an object or person? How can you move that shadow by moving the source of light? The original activity is paired with a storybook you can check out from a library loan or find a video of someone reading it online or even recreate it yourself. The basic idea of the activity is easy to replicate with objects you have on hand and a flashlight. Challenge the learners to try to get the shadow behind other objects or try to make it get very long or disappear by moving the light around. Just like the sun!
Big Sun, Small Moon - This activity explains how we can see a solar eclipse here on earth.The Sun is much larger than the Moon, but because the Sun is so much farther away, the Moon is able to fully block it during an eclipse. Try this activity with any different sized balls you have on hand- a beach ball & a tennis ball, a basketball & a softball, a soccer ball & a baseball. Get pairs of students involved and maybe break apart into multiple groups if you have enough objects on hand.
Solar Eclipse - This activity visually demonstrates how the shadow of the moon moves over the earth during an eclipse. You can use those same different sized balls from the lesson mentioned above to represent the Earth and moon, but this time the students use a flashlight to represent the sun. This can help explain why seeing a solar eclipse is much less common than a lunar eclipse - because the shadow of the moon is much smaller than the earth, it only covers one portion (and often that portion is the ocean and no one can see it)! You can also switch the objects around and show how a lunar eclipse happens when the moon travels through the earth's shadow.
Corona Art - The sun has an atmosphere and the uppermost part of that atmosphere is what we call the corona. This corona is not visible except during a solar eclipse. NASA is launching the Parker Solar Probe this summer in late July/early August and it will fly closer to the sun than any human-built craft has before, sending data back to earth about the hot corona. This art activity uses common classroom materials to illustrate the corona. This works well as a wrap-up activity on a unit about the sun, or can be tied to the northern lights to talk about how the corona ejects particles into space as solar wind, which is one of the main ingredients in the aurora! Learn more about the sun's corona here. Learn more about solar weather here. Download a STEAM activity guide here.