By Preston Frazier / October 22, 2018

Solar Week activities: Bright ideas for your classroom

This week (October 22-26) is celebrated as Solar Week, focusing on the Sun and how it relates to Earth. This event is a little unusual because it takes place two times a year (March and October), and both are awesome opportunities to teach lessons with real-world applications and hands-on activities. And it just so happens Pitsco has a lot of experience with both of these.

So let’s take a look at fun facts about the Sun, how it relates to Earth, and fun hands-on, minds-on activities you can do for any Solar Week!

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Fun Sun Facts

  • The distance from Earth to the Sun is 93 million miles!
    BONUS: Let’s look at a math connection here: There are 3' in a yard, and one football field is 100 yards, which means a football field is 300' long. One mile is equal to 5,280'. So when you divide 300' into 5,280', you can fit close to 18 football fields inside one mile. Now, how many how many football fields fit into 93 million miles?

  • More than one million Earths would fit inside the Sun.

  • It takes the Sun about 26 Earth days to rotate on its axis.

  • Light from the Sun reaches Earth in about eight minutes.

  • Solar technology dates back to the seventh century BC. The first solar collector was created in 1767 by Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure.

  • The first solar cell capable of converting sunlight into power was created in 1954 at Bell Telephone Laboratories in the US.

  • The first solar-powered car – the Quiet Achiever – was driven almost 2,800 miles from Sydney to Perth, Australia, in 1982.

(Multiverse and US Department of Energy)

Hands On? You Betcha!

Solar energy has so many possibilities for hands-on activities. With the right materials and activities, you can create experiences that will teach 21st-century skills and stay with your students for a lifetime. 

  • Take a look at our SunEzoon Solar Car. Students can learn how energy from the Sun can be harnessed to power a vehicle. And there’s a corresponding teacher’s guide jam-packed full of activities. Competitions always create enthusiasm; pair up students or collaborate with another class or grade for a race.

  • S’mores? Check out this solar oven that has the potential for a unique fall activity with your students. They’ll be talking about how they made yummy treats with sunlight for weeks to come.

  • Solar ovens aren’t the only thing sunlight can heat up. More and more homes are using solar heaters, and we have a class-size solar H2O heater to show students how they work. Expand the lesson with a discussion on carbon footprints.
    Solar-heater-1366-1018

Beyond our space, there are many other great resources at the ready. Check out a few of these:

Want to catch more rays or travel beyond the Sun? We’ve got all kinds of renewable energy-based products in our shop.

Celebrate Solar Week

Solar Week gives us an extra reason for focusing on solar power, but depending on your climate, weather, and daylight hours, these engaging activities can be used to reflect on the subject any day of the year.

Help us celebrate Solar Week by sharing your classroom solar ideas with other educators in the comments. And remember, the Sun is a star that shines bright for all to see, so remind your students they’re stars in this world too. 

Sources:
Solar Facts
Space Facts
Sun Facts
Sun Facts for Kids

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TOPICS: IN THE CLASSROOM, IDEAS & INSPIRATION, Collaborations, Science, Technology, STEM, Activities, Future Ready, Hands-on Learning, Math

Preston Frazier

Written by Preston Frazier

Hi all! I’m one of Pitsco’s educational account representatives and have the pleasure of serving the Midwest. I travel quite a bit visiting with teachers, and presenting at workshops whenever I have the opportunity to do so. I’m an alum of the University of Missouri and Pittsburg State University and a supporter of our Big Brothers Big Sisters local chapter. I love traveling, going to sporting events, and hanging out with my wife and daughter whenever possible.