What Melts In The Sun? {Experiment!}

 

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

Do your kiddlets love science experiments as much as mine do? Because we focus so much on the “scientific process” in the beginning of the year, my kids know what whenever we start a new science unit, they are in for some FUN experiments! When I announced we were doing a science experiment Friday, the kids started saying, “We’re going to ask questions!”, “We’re going to do experiments!”, “We’re going to be scientists!”. It sounds like I’m making that up, but really- my kids LOVE science and all that comes along with it!

We’re right in the middle of our science unit about the Sun. Why are we doing a unit about the Sun? Because our NGSS {our national science standards} ask the kids to understand the patterns they see in the sky. This is why our last unit was on the seasons and why this one is about the Sun! For the kids to understand the pattern of the Sun, they first need to learn about the Sun!

Sun circle map

Sun circle map

My favorite way to start any unit is with a circle map. When I introduced this unit last week, I wrote the word “Sun” in the middle of the map and had the kids tell me things they knew…. or thought they knew…. about the Sun. This is all the writing you see in green. Some of it is right on- “hot”, “bigger than Earth”, “very far away”. Those are great! Some showed misconceptions- “flashing lines” {meaning it has wiggling lines coming off it like we draw in pictures}, “fire”, “tilts”. While I loved that the kids brought in their knowledge from the last unit {i.e. The Earth is titled}, this isn’t true for the Sun.

BUT –  WRITE IT ON THE MAP ANYWAY! It’s WAY more meaningful for the kids to discover this on their own, than for me to correct them in the moment.

Next, we spent that day exploring things about the Sun. We looked at a diagram of the solar system, we looked at photographs online, we watched a Brainpop video, and we read a short informational text. By the end of that day, we could go back to the Circle Map and add/change things we’d written {that’s the pink writing}. Now, the kids could tell me that the sun wasn’t just yellow, but a mix of yellow, red, and orange. They knew it wasn’t made of fire, but burning gases. They knew it didn’t tilt, but didn’t move in the middle {**** I realize the Sun rotates in a circle, and we did get to this at another day. For that day, we just discovered it stayed in the middle of our solar system. There’s only so much knowledge we can cover in a day} 🙂

Anyways, I wanted to share this method for introducing a topic. The kids love it, I can see misconceptions, and it’s so great for the kids to discover things on their own. The map is still up in our room and we add to it as we learn new things.

Experiment

Experiment

After a week of learning more about the Sun, we had a great experiment, with the driving question- “What melts in the Sun?”

I saw the idea from Pinterest {Here!} and copied the idea in my room. The gist is, you put objects in a muffin tray and have the kids predict what will melt and what won’t melt.

Objects

Objects

We used ice, butter, a wood block, a crayon, a lego, a bell, chocolate, and cheese. You can obviously mix up what you use, but these worked for me!

Predictions

Predictions

Because we are good little scientists, the first thing we did was write down our essential question and our hypothesis. What did we think would melt? We talked a lot about how we were pretending our light was the “Sun”.

{In the experiment link, they put their tray outside in the sunlight. But, it’s December here….gray….cloudy…..cold….. So being the wonderful wife that I am, had my husband go out into our frozen, snowy yard and bring in our outside flood light to use as the Sun substitute. And of course I remembered to ask him to do this well in advance and not five minutes before I had to leave the house Friday morning 🙂 }

The kids got to take an up-close look at all the items before they made their predictions and before anything started melting.

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

At their seats, they drew what the experiment looked like.

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Sooooo, we had to give our “Sun” some time to melt our objects. What did we do in the meantime? We enjoyed watching The Magic School Bus “Gets Lost in Space”, of course! Although, it did make me feel old when the video referenced 1998 as the next year coming up. Sigh.

Magic School Bus

Magic School Bus

The 20 minute video gave our experiment plenty of time to work! When the movie was over, we went back over to see what had happened!

Melted!

Melted!

The ice cubes look gone- but the water is there! The butter and chocolate also melted!

Wow!

Wow!

It led to a fun conversation about objects having different melting points. For example, ALL these things would have melted if they were on the REAL sun. The cheese and crayon would have melted if our “Sun” was a little hotter. But none the less, it was so much fun and helped them further develop the idea that the Sun is very hot, affects us, and affects objects around us. 

My little scientists wrote down the results of the experiment.

Results!

Results!

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure! Be sure to come back soon!

 

 

 

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