You are on page 1of 2

Lesson 5:  From Sunspots to Solar flares; Can You Spot Them?

Stage/Year: Stage 3, Year 6 Time: 1 hour Objective: For students to explore the highly magnetised areas on the surface of the sun by examining its various features through constructing magnetometers (tools for locating magnetised areas) and comparing and contrasting SOHO images in identifying how these features are interconnected. Syllabus Links: Resources: SC4-10PW; - describe the behaviour of magnetic • Glogster (link located at the bottom poles when they are brought close together of this webpage) • investigate how magnets and electromagnets • YouTube clipare used in some everyday devices or http://www.youtube.com/watch technologies used in everyday life ?v=AfdIX_EV3_M ST3-8ES; - research the key features of the planets • SOHO images of sun A x5 of the solar system (inclusive of the sun) (Adapted, (Appendix 5.1) BOS, 2012a) • Bar magnets x 5 EN3-1A; - use interaction skills, for example • Iron filings x5 handfuls paraphrasing, questioning and interpreting non• Poster paper x 5 + markers verbal cues and choose vocabulary and vocal • 4 inch straw x 10 effects appropriate for different audiences and • Steel pins x20 purposes • 2 inch piece of masking tape x 10 participate in and contribute to discussions, • 7 inch piece of string x 10 clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and • Magnet x 5 supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating • Pages 6,8-11 from information, experiences and opinions http://eo.ucar.edu/ educators/ClimateDiscovery/SEC_ lesson3_10.17.05.pdf (Appendix 5.2) Summary table of KSK: • Sunspots are areas on the sun which consist of the strongest magnetic force and are created by strong loops poking through the sun’s surface (aka photosphere) (NASA, n.d.; Regents of the University of California, 2005) • When magnetic areas on the sun (such as sunspots), change shape quickly, they cause electrically charged currents to be released from the sun’s surface which are known as solar flares (Regents of University of California, 2005) • Some solar flares create explosions know as Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s) which send of matter into space, some of which enter earth’s magnetic field (Regents of University of California, 2005; Creative Evidences Museum, 1995) • An active region is a highlight magnetised area on the sun. these appear as sunspots in normal light, yet under ultraviolet and x-ray light they appear very bright (NASA, n.d) Lesson Overview: Introduction (15mins) Recap with students previous lessons, highlighting what they now know about the sun and the earth’s magnetic field. Open up Glogster Resource and watch YouTube clip on right hand side. Discuss the key points in the clip (sunspots, magnetic loops etc.). As a class read the text on Glogster and explain what the highlighted terms mean.

Body (40mins) Divide the class in half and have students work on 1 of the 2 activities for 20 minutes before swapping to the other for the remaining 20minutes. The activities will be as follows: 1. Students construct a magnetometer (Appendix 5.3 have this displayed on IWB) to identify the magnetised areas on the images printed from the site above. These images will be constructed as per appendix 5.2. Students’ record where the strong magnetic fields are on each image, how many there are, describe what they look like and compare any differences in magnetic fields between the various images. Have these instructions written on the board for students to refer to. 2. Students will look at 3 images of the sun taken by SOHO and answer questions (Appendix 5.4). Students record their findings on poster paper. Allow students to work in pairs. Conclusion (5mins) Regroup and as a class, discuss findings and what they thought was interesting in the activities they completed. Have students hypothesise how they think the sun’s magnetic field could be affecting earth. Ensure correct language and terminology is being used such as sunspot, explosion, solar wind etc. Simplification: Model experiments/activity to students or work with them in order to support their progress throughout the lesson. Encourage students to work together so as to help each other. Extensions: Encourage students to research the process of the suns magnetic cycle by looking at how sunspots appear and what these cause in relation to space and planet earth.

Additional Learning Opportunities: • Encourage students to investigate magnetic and coronal loops and their connection to solar flares and their effect on earth • Students look at the energy stored in the sun’s magnetic loops and examines where this energy came from, given that we know energy cannot be created nor destroyed.