Exploring Magnetism in the Solar Wind introduction session 4 background material glossary resources

Table of Contents

Session 4: Solar Flares
          Activity 1: Magnetic Fields on the Surface of the Sun
               Sunspots Lecture
               Sunsports Lecture - Graphic Organizer
          Activity 2: Magnetic Energy and the Cause of Solar Flares
               Solar Flares
               Solar Flare Cornell Notes
          Activity 3: Measuring the Speed of an Ejected Ball of Plasma
               RHESSI Solar Flare Images
          Activity 4: Science Conference
               Science Conference Handouts
          Worksheets and Assessment Rubrics
Background Material

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This lesson guide was developed by the Science Education Gateway (SEGway) program at the Center for Science Education, located at the University of California at Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory. The primary author, Dr. Bryan Méndez, would like to thank his fellow team members, Drs. Laura Peticolas and Nahide Craig for their valuable work on the guide. Also, we thank Dr. Gordon Holman of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for his ideas and contributions of RHESSI data to the lesson guide. We are grateful for the editorial reviews, suggestions, and contributions to the guide from Lonny Villalobos, Thomas Shefler, Todd McGill, Ruth Paglierani, Karin Hauck, Maria Huerta, and Dr. George Craig. This guide was developed with funds from the Education and Public Outreach program of the NASA mission RHESSI.


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Exploring Magnetism in Solar Flares
An Educator's Activity Guide for Grades 8-12

Solar flares are the most powerful explosions in the Solar System and play an important role in the Sun-Earth connection. Solar flares are caused by sudden changes of strong magnetic fields in the Sunís corona. The changing magnetic field converts magnetic potential energy into kinetic energy by accelerating charged gases (plasmas) in the corona. The plasma is channeled by the magnetic field up and away from the Sun. Plasma is also accelerated back down along the magnetic field into the chromosphere. In the chromosphere, the plasma crashes into denser gas and releases its kinetic energy into thermal energy, sound, and light energy.

The activities in this guide are meant to teach students about the Sun and solar flares. Along the way they will learn about important basic concepts in physical science, and practice their mathematics and literacy skills. The chief physical science concept in these lessons is that of magnetism, or more generally electromagnetism.

This guide was developed for grades 8-12 and is intended to be used as a supplement to the original Exploring Magnetism lesson guide, which was developed at the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory for the Education and Public Outreach Programs of the NASA missions RHESSI, STEREO-IMPACT, THEMIS, and FAST. It is strongly recommended that Exploring Magnetism be used as a prerequisite to this guide. Sessions 1 and 2 of Exploring Magnetism are about magnetism in general and then its connection to electricity. Session 3 was developed in the first supplemental guide in the series, Exploring Magnetism in the Solar Wind, and is about how the STEREO mission will measure the magnetic field of the Solar Wind. This guide continues with Session 4.

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