During the summer, the children can develop and refine skills in Maths, Science and Art to explore the effect of the sun on the natural world.
Working in Maths, the class can practise recording and converting measurements to show how shadows change during the day.
The children can use their science skills to explore how the movement of the Sun can prove facts about the Earth in space. Working in Art and Design, the children can investigate how to mix paints to create scenes depicting the school at sunrise and sunset. The class can produce costumes to wear to herald in the summer sunshine on cloudy and rainy days.
The children can develop their measurement skills in Maths by exploring how shadows change their lengths during the school day. The class can select and outline shadows on the playground using chalk and keep track of the changes to their sizes during the day. Get the children to measure the widths and lengths of each shadow in centimetres and practise converting them between other units such as metres and millimetres. This activity can also link with work in science to prove why shadows change their length during the school day according to the position of the Sun in the sky. Establish with the class how shadows are shorter when the Sun is closer to the Earth during the middle of the day and longer in the early morning and evening when the Sun is further away.
Sunset and Sunrise
The children can develop their skills in Art and Design by exploring how to mix paints to show the range of colours visible in the sky at sunset and sunrise. Initially, the class can produce colour wheels to show the colour shades seen at each time of the day. Next get the children to produce a background scene showing the sky at sunrise and sunset. Teach the class how to mix powder paints to make the range of colours needed for each time of the day. The children can then cut silhouettes of the school building to add to their painted scenes.
Working in Science, the children can explore the movement of the Sun in the sky during the day which can prove that the Earth is rotating on its own axis. The class can place a stick in a pot of sand and keep a record of changes to the position of the stick’s shadow during the day. Get the children to write sentences explaining how the shadows change during the day to show the movement of Earth as it orbits around the Sun and how the planet rotates on its own axis to produce night and day.
The class can also work in Art and Design to produce costumes to herald the arrival of the summer sun. The children can explore how the Sun is welcomed and celebrated in other cultures such as the Amerindians. The class can practise selecting and combining materials to make headdress to wear when performing a Sun dance to herald the Sun. Working in PE, the children can develop and perform steps to use for their dance. Get the class to select a sequence of steps that can be repeated as part of the dance. Each child could select the dance steps to perform in the centre of a circle made by the other children in the class who could then replicate each move.
Working in Maths, the class can keep a track of the sunrise and sunset times over the course of a couple of weeks. The children can identify changes to the timing of the Sun’s appearance during the day using number calculation skills. The class can practise using line graphs to track changes to the sunrise and sunset times over the course of a period of time.