student work examples
Material 1B: SUN PLOT
In this material, students gather and interpret their own data about the Suns apparent path across the sky. Since variations in the Suns apparent path can be observed over a 6-9 week time frame, this material is revisited throughout the EMS unit for a total of approximately 5 twenty minute time periods. Students tasks on each day vary widely and include assembling the data collecting dome, gathering data, and interpreting their data.
This material is from the Project STAR collection of teaching resources. In the Project STAR textbook, The Universe in Your Hands, this material is found on pages 6-8 and is entitled, Plotting the Apparent Daily Path of the Sun. Materials are available through Learning Technologies, Inc.:
59 Walden Street
Students use a 3-dimensional cardboard-backed dome to record the Suns apparent path across the sky on multiple occasions (roughly three weeks apart). Taking their domes outside to a sunny location, students plot the position of a pen tip's shadow on a plastic dome at hourly intervals. This produces a series of data points that, when connected, indicate the Suns angular height, rise and set directions, and day length for a given day. Ultimately, students will learn that the Suns apparent path across the sky changes over a 6-9 week period of time and they will need to modify their EMS model to account for this new phenomenon.
Successful Completion of this Activity Involves:
Students will conclude this material with a plastic 3-dimensional hemisphere dome on which they have plotted a predicted Sun path and three actual paths. In addition, students will answer questions in a companion lab activity that requires them to interpret their data and relate it to their initial predictions.