Is the Sun Toxic?

Although the sun is the primary source of energy for all life, it can also be considered a toxin.  The essence of this lesson is to have students understand that a toxin is a poisonous substance and that the sun is an example of a toxin. Students will be introduced to other toxins including ones that are also beneficial in lower doses or different situations. Students will use a Frisbee and a UV (ultraviolet) meter (3rd grade only) as tools to gauge the sun’s intensity in different conditions.
Students will connect their understanding of the sun and it’s toxicity to human protection options. Students will then explore connections to industry and technology.
A pilot in flight is closer to the sun* (Please refer to Background Information Section for a more detailed explanation.) allowing for more exposure to UV rays.
There is a large industry to design safety equipment for these pilots as well as for the everyday individual. This type of industry designs products to protect pilots and even passengers from the potential harm of the sun, such as: flight suits, air cooling systems, sun glasses, sun visors, windshields with UV protection, and aircraft paint.

Earth and Space Sciences Grade 1: Benchmark D – Describe what resources are and recognize some are limited but can be extended through recycling or decreased use.
Life Sciences Grade 1: Benchmark A – Discover that there are living things, non-living things and pretend things, and describe the basic needs of living things (organisms).
Physical Sciences Grade 1: Benchmark C – Recognize sources of energy and their uses.
Science and Technology Grade 2: Benchmark A – Explain why people, when building or making something, need to determine what it will be made of, how it will affect other people and the environment.
Grade 3: Benchmark A – Explain why people, when building or making something, need to determine what it will be made of, how it will affect other people and the environment.
Scientific Inquiry Grade 1: Benchmark B – Design and conduct a simple investigation to explore a question.
Grade 1: Benchmark C – Gather and communicate information from careful observations and simple investigation through a variety of methods.
Grade 2: Benchmark B – Design and conduct a simple investigation to explore a question.
Grade 2: Benchmark C – Gather and communicate information from careful observations and simple investigation through a variety of methods.
Grade 3: Benchmark B – Design and conduct a simple investigation to explore a question.
Grade 3: Benchmark C – Gather and communicate information from careful observations and simple investigation through a variety of methods.
Scientific Ways of Knowing Grade 1: Benchmark A – Recognize that there are different ways to carry out scientific investigations. Realize that investigations can be repeated under the same conditions with similar results and may have different explanations.
Grade 3: Benchmark C – Explain the importance of keeping records of observations and investigations that are accurate and understandable.
Data Analysis and Probability Grade 1: Benchmark A: Pose questions and gather data about everyday situations and familiar objects.
Grade 1: Benchmark B: Sort and classify objects by attributes, and organize data into categories in a simple table or chart.
Grade 2: Benchmark A: Pose questions and gather data about everyday situations and familiar objects.
Grade 2: Benchmark B: Sort and classify objects by attributes, and organize data into categories in a simple table or chart.
Grade 3: Benchmark A: Gather and organize data from surveys and classroom experiments, including data collected over a period of time.
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