Friday, July 22, 2011

The Sun In A Bottle

No Space Unit would be complete without some serious talk about the Sun.
It is the center of our solar system after all! But with that being said I tend to find science for preschoolers a little tricky. I do absolutely LOVE both math and science , but I’m not always sure of how to take things down to a preschoolers level. I want to find that perfect mix of fun, along with a concept he can understand.

Over the next few days I’m going to share a few science activities that I’ve used recently that seem to fit that bill and have helped my son better understand some of the science of the Sun. The first concept I was trying to illustrate is that the Sun is not just a ball of fire in the sky, but is actually comprised of swirling hot gases. (ok, it’s actually plasma that 4th state of matter, but he’s 3 and I’m not going there.) So not a ball oh fire, ok?

To illustrate this point we created a Sun in a bottle.


To do this you’ll need an empty bottle, oil of some kind, food coloring, a funnel, water and I recommend a hot glue gun.


Fill your bottle about halfway full of oil.


Mix red or orange food coloring with water and fill the bottle the rest of the way up.
We added drops of food coloring after mixing the oil and water and it took a lot of shaking and waiting to get it to mix with the water and separate, so I’d recommend coloring the water beforehand.


Marvel at the oil and water separating.


Wait a day, get a hair cut, & bruise your cheek. (See note above and you can skip this step.)
Put some hot glue into the lid and screw it on tight.


Let your child swirl it around like the gases of the Sun.

Note: This isn’t the most realistic model since the Sun has identifiable layers, but it definitely captured my son’s interest and helped him think of a familiar sight in a new way. I think it’s perfect for the preschool set!

A few general Sun facts you could present if your child is ready:
The Sun is made up of plasmas - extremely hot gases.
By mass the Sun is comprised of about 70% hydrogen, 28% helium, and 2% other stuff.
The Sun falls into the medium-large range of the stars in our galaxy.
The Sun is about 4.5 billion years old.
Sources: here & here

Have a great weekend!
We’ll be back Monday with another science activity about the Sun.

I'm sharing this post over at:
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  1. Oh my goodness, that is so very awesome!! We just finished up talking about the Moon yesterday so a project like this to talk about the Sun next is perfect! I'm a new follower and can't wait to explore your blog more!

  2. What a fantastic way to engage your little one and teach about the sun at the same time. My 7yo science lover would really enjoy this activity. Thanks for sharing with this week's Show and Tell

  3. how fun is this! I definitely have to try this with my girls - though I must confess I want to play with it myself!

    Thanks for linking up to the Sunday Showcase - hope to see you again this week!


  4. we did something similar to this a few years ago when my daughter was four. she's six and we did this again tonight using your sun analogy and it was fun! thanks for sharing it!


Thanks for your comments!

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