June 22nd is the Summer Solstice here in the northern hemisphere. It is the time of year when the earth's axis tilts towards the sun, causing warm weather and longer days in the northern hemisphere, and cold weather with "shorter" days in the southern hemisphere. Celebrate the changing seasons with your class by trying some of the lesson plans below.
1. Have a circle time with younger students that focuses on the summer solstice. Make a list of all the things the sun does for us on Earth. Ask students to consider what would happen if we didn’t have the sun. See: Summer Solstice the Montessori Way: Classroom Curriculum Activities
2. Have students write a play, skit or dialogue that explains the summer solstice. They can personify the sun and earth to create characters or create a metaphorical tale. The play can then be performed for parents and other classes.
3. Create a “quiz show” game with questions about the summer solstice or the sun. Quiz may include questions from sites below:
4. Read Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and discuss setting, plot and characters within context of solstice beliefs and traditions.
5. Solar Math. See Space Math at NASA for extensive list of math problems related to the sun.
6. Sun Sounds. Use tangibles (slinky, triangles, bottles of water, different sized oatmeal boxes) to demonstrate the principal of vibration, echo, and different pitches of sound. See Solar Music from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory for explanation of how astronomers can listen to the sun's “heartbeat” to learn about the inside of the Sun.
Listen to the Sounds of the Sun as recorded by research scientist.
Hear music inspired by sounds of solar wind.
7. Solar Snacks
8. Sing AstroCappella: The Sun Song
Catchy fact-filled song about the sun.
9. Sun Folklore. Read aloud from collection of myths, legends and tales about the sun, representing a variety of cultural perspectives and world views.
10. Listen to “Summer” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
Explain that the music represents the season of summer, and ask students to let their imaginations follow the music. Invite them to share thoughts or feelings about the music.