Inspired by the Sun

The total eclipse of 2017 inspired a week of sun-themed activities for us, starting with viewing the eclipse at the Adler Planetarium.


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1. Eclipse Viewing

This opportunity does not come easily, unless you have the means to travel and follow the path of the eclipses. On August 21, 2017, however, we had a great opportunity to experience a total eclipse in right in our city.

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2. Big Numbers

Although the sun is below average in size, as stars go, it is still enormous to us. When we talk about the sun and the numbers associated with it, the numbers tend to be big. This is a great opportunity to introduce scientific notation, plus it’s a lot of fun to learn the names of numbers way beyond the millions and trillions!

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3. Abstract Reasoning

Circles, crescents, and stars are great shapes to use for abstract/logical/non-verbal reasoning exercises.

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4. Mythology: Sun Gods

My 9yo loves mythologies: gods, monsters and other magical creatures spark his imagination. For our sun-themed week, we chose to read about the sun god, Ra. Ra has now been added to my 9yo’s art trading cards collection.

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5. Sequences

Sequence problems are easily transformed into sun-themed activities by using yellow/orange circles to depict each list item’s place.

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6. Sudoku

Instead of the numbers 1-9, this sudoku puzzle uses circles of different colors.

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7. Solar Oven

It was a great excuse to order pizza! We used the pizza box, along with some aluminum foil, plastic wrap, black paper, and some skewers to make a solar oven. The hardest part was waiting for the chocolate and marshmallow to melt.

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8. Sunlight Box

This sunlight box is inspired by the “Liter of Light” movement, which provides affordable solar light to those with limited means. It’s easy to make with a cardboard box, some foil, an empty soda can, some water, food color (optional), and of course, the sun.

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9. Animated Sun

Back indoors, we exercised our coding muscles by creating some sun-themed animations using MIT’s Scratch program.

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10. A Total Eclipse Murder Mystery!

My 9yo loves mystery stories. This past year, he listened to several Agatha Christie murder mysteries, and that gave me the idea to write up some murder mysteries for him to solve. For our sun-themed week, the murder happened during the short window of darkness of the total eclipse, and my 9yo was given different clues to help him find the killer.

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