Monday, September 10, 2012

Charting the Sun's Movement in the Sky

I'm excited to get back to writing posts about actual things we are doing in school =)  We have started back into full swing and are focusing on history this year!  In true classical style, we will try to connect other areas of study to this history backbone, helping our learning to not be segmented.

Since this is our first year of history, we are starting at the very beginning.  We opened our Bibles and read Genesis chapter 1.  We also read lots of books having to do with creation, including A is for Adam, selections from Heritage History, and various library books.

In Genesis 1:14-15 it says,

"And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night.  And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth."

I thought that this would be a great time to cover some basic science about the sun!  The plan was to discover how the sun moves in the sky, to learn that the earth actually turns around the sun, and to memorize that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  This is what we did:

  1. Print out the page I created to help us chart the sun's movement. (See the Preschool Science Printable Pack below)
  2. Cut out the pieces and have them ready with a piece of cardstock to glue them onto. Glue the boy onto the middle/bottom of the cardstock.
  3. Go outside first thing in the morning and have your child look for the sun in the sky.  Once they spot it, have them point their arm towards it.  Tell them to remember how their arm is positioned.
  4. Go to your piece of cardstock with the little boy on it.  Have your child put an arm on the boy in the position that they pointed up toward the sun at outside. Glue it down once they have it in the right spot.
  5. Have them draw a sun on the page in the direction that the arm is pointing.
  6. Have them write the time underneath the arm they glued on.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 each hour throughout the day.
  8. Have your child look at their finished paper and observe what happened to the sun in the sky as the day progressed.  Explain that they can tell the approximate time of the day by looking at where the sun is in the sky.
  9. Write Genesis 1:14-15 on their paper (or have them write it) and show how God gave us the sun so that we could keep track of the days!

After that, we brought out the globe and I showed my son how the earth actually is the thing that moves, not the sun, and that it takes the earth 24 hours to spin around one time (making one day).

Memory Box Item: The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

I added the memory sentence to our memory box and our sun-charting page to our new history binder, both for regular review! 

I know this is very basic, but it's a great place to start for a child's first exposure to the celestial beings!  If your child is a little older, or has already been exposed to these things, you could add making a diagram of the earth/moon/sun, have them also memorize the fact about the earth taking 24 hours to spin once on its axis, or introduce them to the other planets.

What other fun ways have you introduced the sun and the movement of the earth to your child?

 Would you like to have an activity sheet and printable instructions for this and 9 other science activities for preschoolers?

Get my Preschool Science (& Nature) printable pack for free!

 Looking for more preschool information?  Click on the picture below to find a list of all the preschool posts here at Living and Learning at Home, plus some of my favorite preschool resources!

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  1. That looks like a great activity about the sun! My kids loved reading A is for Adam when they were younger. I am stopping by from Trivium Tuesdays!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Rachel! My kids keep loving it as we keep reading it...they ask for it every day! I'm tiring of studying creation at a preschool level for so long, but it's really helping them understand it!

  2. Such a clever idea! Love the printable to go with it too.

    Isn't it nice to be back into the swing of things? :)

    1. Thank you, Sarah! Yes, I have a hard time being out of routine =)

  3. This is such a fun idea! I'm going to share. It with my husband who is teaching elementary level astronomy at our co-op. It could be a fun activity to send home with the kids.

    1. Great idea about the send-home activity! I'm so glad that you enjoyed the idea =)


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