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Citizenship, Expository Writing, Nonfiction, Weather


K, 1st, 2nd


Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts


200 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides, Downloadable MP4/M4V


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Sun Up, Sun Down

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Apr 24, 2024
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In this lesson, students learn about the role the sun plays in our daily lives and how solar energy can be used.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students listen and respond to the text Sun Up, Sun Down by Gail Gibbons.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students investigate the different roles that the sun plays in our daily lives.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students create a representation of learning and share the importance of renewable energy.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students participate in whole and small group discussions and exploration.

  • Students explore topics through hands-on inquiry-based activities.

  • Students share information and encourage positive climate action.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Most required materials are typical classroom items. However, the teacher will need to source some additional materials to complete the mini-lessons and stations, such as pizza boxes, aluminum foil, thermometers, etc.


  • This lesson was designed to be used in a kindergarten classroom but can easily be modified for first and second grade. See Station and Mini-Lesson Guide for more information about scaffolding the lesson up or down for students.

  • Students work at their own pace in stations.

  • Students choose a method of sharing knowledge according to their personal learning.

  • Additional or alternative texts:

    • Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty 

      • This text focuses on the sun and space, with the sun serving as the narrator.

    • The Sun Is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch

      • Narrative with beautiful imagery.

      • Simple text. It may be appropriate for some students to read independently.

    • Running on Sunshine: How Does Solar Energy Work? by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano

      • nonfiction text

      • This book can be quite dense, so it may be best to read it in chunks for younger students.

Scientist Notes

The sun is the primary source of energy. This lesson provides students with elementary knowledge about the sun and what it provides and allows them to dive deeper into energy sources and renewable and nonrenewable energy. With the class activity and the teacher guide video, students will know what the sun provides and answer questions as to why we need it. All materials were fact-checked, and this lesson has passed our science review process.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standards

  • Visual & Performing Arts
    • Visual Arts: Standard 1 - Generating and conceptualizing ideas.
      • 1.5.2.Cr1b: Engage in individual and collaborative art making through observation and investigation of the world, and in response to personal interests and curiosity.
  • Science
    • ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe
      • 1-ESS1-1. Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • 2-LS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.
    • PS3: Energy
      • K-PS3-1. Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement (K-5)
      • K.M.A.1 Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
      • 1.M.A.2 Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps.
      • 2.M.A.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Literature (K-12)
      • RL.CR.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
      • RL.CR.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a literary text (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
      • RL.CR.2.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of key details in a literary text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.IW.K.2 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts to convey ideas.
      • W.IW.1.2 With prompts and support, write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information.
      • W.IW.2.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
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