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Weather Watching    Mystery 5

Mystery 5 image

In this Mystery, students experiment with ways to bring light and warmth to a cold place where the sun doesn’t shine throughout the winter.

How could you warm up a frozen playground?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 6)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 6)
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Beginning Exploration (3 of 6)

Have`you`ever`seen
anything`melt`in
the`sun?

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Beginning Exploration (4 of 6)
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Beginning Exploration (5 of 6)

DISCUSS:

How could you bring the sun’s light and heat to this town? You can’t move the sun, but is there a way to move the sunshine?

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Beginning Activity Prep
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Chill City

In this activity, students working in pairs reflect light into shadow, bringing warmth to a paper town called Chill City.

Step 1: Plan ahead

To prepare for this activity, you’ll need a way to cast good shadows on student worksheets. Most classrooms have overhead lights designed to create even, shadow-free illumination. You’ll need to turn off those overheads and find another way to cast shade on Chill City.

If you have a bank of windows that will be brightly lit when you do this activity, you may be able use them as your light source. To see if this will work, fold up the edge of a piece of paper, turn off the overhead lights, and see if you get a shadow on the page, like this:

Chill City

If your window isn’t bright enough, a table lamp with no shade can work well as a source of “sunlight.” Put the lamp on the floor and have students sit in a circle around it.

Step 2: Get supplies

You’ll need:

  • envelopes big enough to contain experiment supplies (1 per pair of students; see Step 4 for assembly instructions)
  • scissors (1 per pair of students)
  • stickers or pieces of masking tape (2 per pair of students)
    • We use stickers like these because they substitute well for strips of tape and are easier to hand out in a large class
  • 3 x 5 card (1 per pair of students)
  • aluminum foil
  • clear plastic report covers (2 for a class of 32)
  • black construction paper (4 sheets for a class of 32)
  • colored construction paper (4 sheets for a class of 32)

Step 3: Print out worksheets

Step 4: Prepare for class

Cut report covers and construction paper into 8 equal pieces, like this:

Chill City

For each pair of students, assemble an envelope of supplies containing:

  • 3 x 5 card
  • 3” x 5” piece of aluminum foil
  • piece of clear plastic
  • piece of black construction paper
  • piece of colored construction paper
Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Activity: Chill City
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Beginning Exploration (6 of 6)
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Beginning Complete!

You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity and exploration you just completed.
  • End of Mystery Assessment : Open-ended drawing prompt
  • Readings: Three informational books about sunlight, temperature, and staying cool in the summer.
  • Video: News footage from Rjukan, Norway.
  • Activities: Further investigations of the relationship between temperature and sunlight.
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Readings

These online books are free for educators registered on Epic!:

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Video

Show students a news report about the real town of Rjukan, Norway that inspired the activity for this lesson.

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Activities

With these activities, students can investigate how to make a hot place colder (the opposite of our Mystery!):

  • Cool Trees -- Measure the effect of shade trees on temperature in this activity from the Lawrence Hall of Science.
  • Melting Chocolate -- Observe how quickly chocolate melts in the sun and the shade from NOAA.
  • Black, White, or Silver? Investigate which color is heated most by sunlight in this activity from Origin Energy.
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