by mystery science
This week we learned about the sun’s daily “path” across the sky, including how the sun rises on the eastern side of the sky, and sets on the western side.
You can encourage your child’s curiosity by helping them make the personal connection to these directions, as seen from their own home. Give them a clear sense of where east and west are, in relation to: the driveway or sidewalk, any front-facing windows, bedroom walls, etc. For example, you might say, “If you can imagine your walls were invisible, where would you see the sun in the morning?"
If you yourself are unsure, here are two simple ways to find out: 1) If you have a smartphone, many of them come with a built-in “compass” app. 2) You can do it the old-fashioned way, and just notice the sun’s position at sunset and/or at sunrise.
This week we began our unit about the sun, moon, and stars. In our first few lessons we will be learning about the sun, in particular how its place changes in the sky throughout the day. In our first lesson, your child observed the surprising fact that the shadow of a stationary object moves, even though the object itself is not moving! This is because of how the sun’s place is changing in the sky.
Although we will not yet be introducing the idea of the Earth’s rotation, next week we will be learning more details about the sun’s path, including learning about east and west (the direction of sunrise and sunset!).
You can encourage your child’s curiosity about the sun by going for a late afternoon walk around your neighborhood, and inviting them to notice where the shadows are. You can bring up interesting questions to ponder, such as: Which direction are the shadows pointing? How can you use a shadow’s direction to know where the sun is (since it’s not safe to look directly at the sun)? How might these shadows be different in the morning?