What’s Solar Energy? A Little Background…

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The sun is our greatest source of light and heat here on Earth.  The best part is, it provides light and heat to us for free!  It’s important to teach kids about this “clean” source of energy because it has little to no negative impact on the environment.  It is also a “renewable”  source of energy because it will never run out; we can continue to harness the energy over and over again.  Today many of the conveniences of modern life rely on using the Earth’s resources.  So, harnessing an abundant energy , like the sun – for free, may help out current and future energy needs. 

So what exactly is Solar Energy?  Put simply, solar energy is the power (energy) of light and heat that comes from the sun.  This week we are focusing on solar education for kids from preschool on up with simple activities you can do with them at home to show how the sun “works” first-hand.

It might be a good idea to give your kids some background before delving into this week’s projects.  Here are some diverse ways you can connect learning about the sun to other subjects:

  • Overview for teachers and older kids.  Here’s a link to a page from Need.org.  3rd under “Presentations” is a link to a power point called the “Introduction to Solar.” This is a good overview resource for teachers or older kids.  Be sure to not only look at the pictures, but read the notes section too.  You just might learn something new!
  • Science: Did you know that the sun is a star? The Earth revolves around the sun! Check out some Sun Facts for Kids on the NASA web site.
  • Math: The sun is such an important element of life that we created our calendar around it! Learn about the history of our calendar and our 24 hour day, as well as the calendar of other civilizations.
  • History/Mythology:  The importance of the sun goes way back to ancient civilizations who put importance in having a “god of the sun.” The Ancient Egyptians believed in Ra, Ancient Greeks believed in Apollo, and the Ancient Romans believed the sun was called Sol, just to name a few. 
  • Health: Skin cancer is an important concern.  Discuss with kids ways they can keep their bodies safe from the harmful sun rays.  Encourage them to wear hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen outdoors to protect themselves.  Visit the Center for Disease Control to find out other ways to protect kids and encourage schools to do the same.
  • Singing: Remember the lyrics to the song, “Mr. Sun?”  In case you forgot, here’s the tune to “Mr. Sun” on YouTube.  Also, “Here Comes the Sun” leads itself to a discussion about seasons.
  • Reading: Gail Gibbons is a fantastic author who writes nonfiction books containing beautiful pictures and diagrams for young learners.  Her book, Sun Up, Sun Down discusses the science of the sun in  an easy to understand language that would make a great read-aloud to build background.

Now that you’re armed with a little background about the sun, join me tomorrow to see where I’m guest posting…and for a little hands-on activity discovering condensation and evaporation. 

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3 thoughts on “What’s Solar Energy? A Little Background…

  1. I find this subject very interesting. As my daughter get older I’d love to do a unit on solar energy. we’re actually cooking our dinner in a sun oven today. We are making sweet and sour chicken. Yum I can’t wait! I’ve booked marked this post for later when I do a solar energy unit. Thanks for sharing.

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