A nice find
While searching an old hard drive for some family images, I came across this photograph. Its some of the parents and children from my previous astronomy club in Bray Co Wicklow. The Action Sun workshop involved bringing the sun to Earth using simple materials. The children and parents were carrying the newly built sun into the school hall, all very proud of their work.
On May 4th 2012 children from St Cronans Stargazers Astronomy Club in Bray took the sun from the sky and brought it down to Earth. We used a 10ft X 8ft plastic sheet, crepe paper, acrylic paint washable glue and plenty of energy.
It was a very cloudy day. Earlier a brief look at the sun in the gave me a good view of a sunspot in Active Region 147. The rest of the data from the space telescope Nasa Solar Dynamics Observatory. ‘The sun now’ . This website shows the status of the sun in many light waves in real-time.
By building the sun the children were literally exploring the physical features of the sun with their hands in mini scale.
Astronomy and Art for Everyone
Exploring astronomy via art is varied learning for all participants. Even finding out a little about what we see in the sky during our entire lifetimes is enhancing for life. Understanding where we are helps us understand who we are. Art expressing awe and wonder at the magnificence of our stars role, in every second of every day of our lives is unavoidably beautiful.
Astronomy and Art are for everyone, each person has something to express, each has their own life journey to make, to live, to experience. The action of bringing the Sun to the ground, bringing it down to Earth is a deep experience that can only have a positive effect. Action Sun invites children to be creative, expressive, and informed.
During the activity, I emphasised to the children the dangers of looking at the sun. Action Sun is a very safe way of exploring our star in a way that enhances a child’s knowledge and encourages curiosity and further learning.
During the making of our sun, we had just finished the photosphere when spontaneously some of the children bowed down to the paper sun. This was a funny happy moment, so totally unexpected, it came out of nowhere. When we were carrying the finished sun into the school, the smallest child began singing ‘here comes the sun’
I was amazed that a 2012 child would know that song and even more surprised that he sang away. The singing soon became a group effort as we struggled through the double doors into the hall.
Action Sun supports Art in the curriculum as it uses mixed media to create the sun. We used paint and paper to convey action, and explosive movement on the solar disc. Action Sun enables children to use the characteristics of the materials to make the structures and features on the solar disc. Making the sun in this way is both creative and explorative.
Making is the technological component of the Science Curriculum. Action Sun provides the child with an opportunity to make the sun, and thereby investigate its properties in the schoolyard.
Action Sun is a cooperative activity encouraging social skills and group learning. The goal is to bring the sun to Earth to examine it and observe it safely. We were not just aiming for an understanding of the subject matter but were making connections between head, hand and heart while cultivating the capacity to discover systems. Observation and wonder equal sustained learning in my book.
Action Sun supports Geography in primary education as the Solar System is part of the lesson plans. The Sun is the central hub of our solar system and is, therefore, one of the most important objects in our daily lives.
When the Action Sun piece was hung in the hall, the children said ‘ the suns up, the suns up’ with smiling faces, what a happy moment. A fun afternoon, in which out of the corner of my eye the action was observed by several teachers out of the school windows.
Action Sun was created by Deirdre Kelleghan slide show below
On this occasion Action Sun was funded by Dublin City of Science 2012 . Action Sun was included in the book Solar Sketching – A comprehensive guide to Drawing the Sun ( pages 369,370,371,372) This was also a NASA Sun-Earth Day Venus Transit registered event.
The children’s work also had the honour of being Astronomy Sketch of the Day on May 5th 2012