Objective: Children will perform an experiment with the Sun’s effects on a variety of materials and discuss sunny weather.‹ Return to Theme
What You Will Need
- A sunny day
- Muffin tins or egg cartons – 1 per child
- Chocolate pieces – 1 tablespoon per child
- Broken crayons – 1 tablespoon per child
- Grated cheese – 1 tablespoon per child
- Ice cubes – 1 per child
- Marshmallows – 1 per child
- Small plastic toys – 1 per child
- Wooden blocks – 1 per child
- Rubber bands – 1 per child
- Rocks – 1 per child
- Shells – 1 per child
- Broken chalk – 1 tablespoon per child
- Bowls – 11 per table
- Tablespoons – 1 per child
What To Do
- Discuss different types of weather; including sunny days (see Did You Know?).
- Tell the children they will be experimenting with different materials to see how the Sun affects them.
- Distribute the muffin tins or egg cartons to the children.
- Place bowls of materials on the tables. Help the children place a tablespoon of each material into separate sections of the tins or cartons.
- As children are completing this step, have them make predictions about what might happen to each item.
- Assist the children with placing their tins or cartons outside in a sunny location. Leave the tins/cartons in the Sun for several hours.
- Bring the tins/cartons back inside and discuss what happened (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
Guiding Student Inquiry
- Tell me about some different types of weather.
- Explain why we enjoy spending more time outside on sunny days.
- Describe what your skin feels like when you are out in the Sun.
- Tell me which of the materials might melt if we leave them in the Sun.
- Describe what happened to the materials we left in the Sun.
- Explain why some things melted.
- What other kinds of things might melt in the Sun?
- Tell me what might have happened if we had put our tins/cartons in the shade.
Explore, Extend & Integrate
- Try this same experiment on a rainy or cloudy day. Discuss what happens.
- On a class calendar, track the number of sunny days for several months. Review your data to find the month with the sunniest days.
- Place extra materials, muffin tins, or egg cartons in the science area for children to practice sorting into objects that melt and objects that will not melt.
- Make a sunny day art project by placing crayon shavings on a piece of wax paper. Place another sheet of wax paper on top so the shavings are sandwiched between. Weight the paper down along the edges and leave it in a sunny spot outside for about an hour. The crayon shavings will melt and run together, forming stained glass–like art.
Check for Children’s Understanding
- Could children explain sunny days as a type of weather?
- Could children explain why we enjoy spending more time outside on sunny days?
- Could children describe how the Sun feels on their skin?
- Could children explain why some materials melted and some did not melt?
Did You Know?
Weather affects practically everything we do. The Sun and the moisture in the air are the two things that create all of our weather. Sunny weather days are days when there are very little or no clouds in the sky. We usually experience more sunny days in the summer when the days are warmer. This is the reason we enjoy spending more time outside in the summer. However, the Sun’s rays are very powerful and we need to protect our skin with sunscreen and our eyes with hats and sunglasses when we are out in the Sun.
The Sun is a source of energy. Light and heat from the Sun are forms of energy. Materials can absorb the energy and, as a result, some will melt and become a liquid. In our experiment, some of the materials melted and became a liquid, some materials softened a little bit, and some materials did not melt.
- Sun – the star that is nearest to the Earth; the Earth receives heat and light from the Sun.
- weather – the conditions outside, including temperature, rain, snow and other things.
- melt – to change from a solid to a liquid through heat.
- rays – thin beams of light.
- light – a form of energy that makes it possible for the eyes to see.
- heat – the form of energy that you feel as warmth.
Materials placed in egg cartons may take longer to melt than those in metal muffin tins since the metal will absorb the heat from the Sun and speed up the melting process.
- A Sunny Day (What Kind of Day Is It?) by Lola M. Schaefer
- Sunny Day by Anna Milbourne
- The Sun Is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch
- Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven
Content provided by:
Common Core State
These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.
Important Legal Disclosures & Information
While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed.
There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.