Sun Lab Guide for Educators

For discussion questions and lesson plans, go to the Sun Lab collection on PBS LearningMedia.

In the Classroom

There are countless ways to bring the Sun Lab into your classroom. Each part of the Lab—the Video Library, Research Challenge, and Opportunities Section—can be used as a teaching tool in its own right. Consider the ideas below and adapt them to your needs.

  • Watch a video and use the provided discussion questions to get your class talking. (10 minutes)
  • Have your students try the "Solar Cycle" activity in the Research Challenge and discuss successful strategies for identifying sunspots. (20 minutes)
  • Work through the full Video Library with your class and discuss it along the way. Use the printout summary of responses to assess your students’ progress. (50 minutes)
  • Assign the "Open Investigation" in the Research Challenge as homework to get your students exploring on their own using the Helioviewer. Have them write up or present their findings to the class.

Have you used the Sun Lab in your classroom? Share your experience.

Sun Lab Standards Alignment

To see how different parts of the Sun Lab can be used to meet your course objectives, download a standards alignment here:

 Sun Lab Standards Alignment (107.6 KB)

Related Resources

Use these resources to enhance your lessons about the Sun.

  • Secrets of the Sun. In this NOVA/National Geographic production, see how scientists are striving to better understand our star and its potentially destructive solar storms.
  • Origins of the Solar System. In this NOVA program, learn how the shock wave from a supernova may have triggered the formation of our Sun and the planets in our solar system 5 billion years ago.
  • SDO for Educators. Find great solar science resources for your classroom, like this "Science of the Sun" Learning Unit, from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
  • Tour the Solar System. Explore the planets, visit the moon, and gaze at the stars in this 3-D interactive model of the solar system.
  • Our Star the Sun.  Review this collection of sun-themed classroom resources from NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory to prepare for your lesson.
  • Solar Physics Glossary. Brush up on solar vocabulary with this comprehensive glossary from NASA.
  • Stanford Solar Center. This resource from Stanford University provides a collection of multidisciplinary, interactive exercises and activities based on the Sun and solar science, most geared toward grades 4–12.