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Connecting the Sun, Earth, Sunspots, and Climate

Connecting the Sun, Earth, Sunspots, and Climate

Four interrelated lesson plans explore the dynamic nature of the Sun, magnetic fields of the Earth, magnetic characteristics of sunspots, and temporal correlations between sunspot activity and Earth’s past climate. Scientists and teachers who are preparing classroom activities for grade 5 – 8 students can use these lessons to enhance understanding about the connections between the Sun and Earth, and sunspots and climate. These four lessons comprise the Sun-Earth Connection unit of a Teacher’s Guide to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Climate Discovery Exhibit. They may be used independently or as a complement to a middle school science class field trip to NCAR’s Mesa Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. These resources are accompanied by a set of Powerpoint slides annotated by NCAR scientists to explain the technology used and the features seen in solar images contributed by the scientists and their collaborators who conduct research with support from NASA.


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