1. Incorporating relevant NGSS standards at the middle school level.
2. Establishing background information on Earth as a System, light, and energy sources for the System.
3. Defining learning progression through topics: Sun, Earth’s Orbit, Heat from Earth’s Interior, Albedo, The Earth System (origins and composition) 1. Atmosphere, 2. Hydrosphere, 3. Geosphere, 4. Biosphere, 5. Cycles
The Sun: Energy for the Earth System
Students will be able to:
1. Define the Earth System.
2. Explain that the Sun is a primary source of energy for processes in the Earth System.
3. Differentiate different kinds of light based on wavelengths and energies, including infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light.
4. State the four reasons why the amount of heat in the Earth System can change.
5. Understand that there are cycles in the amount of radiation produced by the Sun, but that solar cycles are not the primary cause of changes in Earth’s temperature today.
Without the Sun, the Earth would be a very different place. The Sun provides energy to the Earth, and without this energy there would not be plants, rain, or wind. Life on Earth as it exists today would not have evolved. Many physical and biological processes that shape the land and sea through time are caused by energy from the Sun.
The Sun is a star that converts hydrogen to helium through a reaction called nuclear fusion. These reactions in the Sun release enormous amounts of energy, called light, which is also called solar radiation, into space. This light is emitted by the Sun into space in all directions, and the Earth receives some of this light. Stars can emit a range of light waves. Most light from the ...
... middle of paper ...
...vidence that solar activity decreased during the cycle that started in 2008. Starting in 2008, astronomers observed the lowest number of sunspots in over 100 years.
To see a NASA report on the solar cycle that started in 2008, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ha7X6dWVQE&feature=youtu.be
This recent reduction in sunspots may also indicate that there are longer cycles in the amount of radiation produced by the Sun. Historical observations of sunspots suggests from 1645 to 1715, the Sun’s activity reduced and the Earth cooled. This period was called the Little Ice Age (also called the Maunder Minimum). Astronomers are working to understand possible cycles that occur over multiple centuries that could affect Earth in the future.
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