The Sun is Amazing! Teacher Workshops

Past Workshop Agendas

Berkeley 2013
Pasadena (JPL) 2013
Pasadena (JPL) 2013
Berkeley 2012
Sacramento 2012
Berkeley 2011
Sacramento 2011


Curricular Resources
PowerPoint Presentations


Reports and Nuggets

NASA Heliophysics E/PO

Solar Dynamics Observatory
Solar Probe Plus
Solar Week
Five Stars
Stanford Solar Center
The Sun Today

About Us

The Energy Team
Contact Us

Energy from the Sun PowerPoint Presentations

These presentations were included in our K12 teacher workshops. Below is a short summary of what you will find in each of them. Taken together they provide a unique look at the Sun—including astronomical and cultural points of view as well as understanding the Sun as a source of sustainable energy.

NASA Solar Science and Other Resources

slide showing sun physics diagramEnergy from the Sun - Dr. Bryan Mendez (7.4 MB)

This is an overview presentation of the Sun as an astronomical object and a source of energy for Earth. Size, distance from Earth, mass, luminosity and other aspects of the Sun are introduced. The Sun’s layers are identified and explained as well as other structures. This is an excellent introduction to our nearest star. Slides are annotated with notes.

two magnets representing sunspotsSolar Structures and the Sun-Earth Connection - Dr. Claire Raftery (127 MB)

This is a more in-depth presentation of the Sun’s magnetic fields, differential rotation and solar events (solar prominences, solar filaments, solar flares and coronal mass ejections). Sunspots, irradiance and the solar output reaching Earth are included here.

cartoon of scalesThe Sun: Not Your Average Yellow Star - Dr. Bryan Mendez (1 MB)

Short introductory presentation focused on the unique properties of the Sun. Annotated slides.


sun breaking through cloudsFrom the Sun to the Earth: Making Connections through the Heliosphere - Dr. Claire Raftery (50 MB)

This presentation goes more deeply into what is known as Space Weather--the interaction between the Sun and Earth. Numerous movies are linked and well worth viewing. Sunspots, their origins and structures, differential rotation, the Earth’s magnetic field and the dynamics which give rise to aurora are just a few of the solar science topics in this powerpoint.

picture of temple at Chichen ItsaCultural Expressions of Astronomy - Dr. Bryan Mendez (83 MB)

This is an extensive presentation on the ways that culture and astronomy are linked, beginning with the Sun in world mythology and expressions in world languages. Cultures include those from China, Mesoamerica, Japan and our own modern American pop culture. Examples of hierophany in Maya architecture are provided and examples of solar elements in contemporary architecture.

picture of nasa wavelength home pageNASA Wavelength - NASA Science Mission Directorate (1.8 MB)

NASA Wavelength is a digital collection of Earth and space science resources for educators at all grade levels. Wavelength resources have undergone a peer review (by educators and scientists) to ensure the content is accurate and useful in an educational setting. It is a great way for you to quickly locate classroom resources, connect them to other websites, and share the resources you discover with colleagues through social media and email.

Solar Energy

map of US with colored areasReduced World Energy Briefing (24.4 MB)

The presentation begins with primary sources of global energy consumption from 1830 to 2010 and later focuses on solar energy as an alternative source of energy. It contains an overview of where and how we get our electricity in the US and introduces the DARING acronym to characterize solar energy use. Various technologies for producing solar thermal are showcased and photovoltaic technologies are also covered. This is a good overview of solar as a sustainable energy source. The international work of We Care Solar is introduced.

diagram of electricity flowBasic Electricity, Part 1-Volts, Amps, Watts, Series, Parallel - Hal Aronson (2 MB)

Volts, amps and watts are explained using helpful analogies for the classroom. Series and parallel wiring are demonstrated and summary activity for students provided. Slides are annotated with notes. Practice for students (volts, amps, watts and power formula) is included.

Middle School Presentations

book coverReal Reasons for the Seasons (8 MB)

This contains presentation materials to accompany the various activities contained in the GEMS Seasons guide, ending with common misconceptions about seasons and how they occur on Earth.

sun and earthLiving With A Star (3.2 MB)

Presentation materials to accompany the various activities contained in the Living with a Star Guide.


K-5 Presentations

cartoon of schoolhouse and sun overheadEye on the Sky - Ruth Paglierani (7.7 MB)

Overview of the Eye on the Sky classroom materials created for K-5 students. The presentation includes a discussion a how to link solar science and solar energy in the elementary classroom and extensive samples of the student work for the lessons in the EOTS curriculum.

Implementation Presentations

sun shining through cloudsThe Sun is Amazing--Even in 5th Grade! - Mary Timar (50 MB)

The presentation shows Mary Timar’s successful (and impressive) year-long exploration of solar topics in her 5th grade classroom in Berkeley, CA. Slides show students in action with both indoor and outdoor activities as varied as magnetic races, solar cookers, Sun/Earth/Moon modeling and cultural connections to the Sun. Issues such as scientific vocabulary, background information and time and curricular constraints are addressed. This is a rich collection of classroom activities worth delving into.

children looking at solar house modelSchool-wide Solar Fair - Ruth Paglierani (3.2 MB)

This showcases one model of a Solar Fair as celebrated at Rose Parks Elementary School in Berkeley, CA. Examples of activities used at all grade levels (K-5) are included as well as tips for successful implementation.

labeled drawing of sunSolar Science in Westside School (21.2 MB)

This presentation highlights the program designed and implemented by DeAnn Karl at the Westside Elementary School in Rio Linda, CA. Solar box ovens are used as a basis for science and engineering exploration, writing and student collaboration. Students use monthly “Sunlogs” to gather and interpret data and practice using scientific tools. The presentation shows multiple ways to practice measurement including changing shadows and the sun’s angle. For a super summary of the integration of Energy from the Sun materials into DeAnn’s Academic Talent Search program, take a look here--

students bending over desk activityOne Story of Solar in the Schools - Kathi Lund (19 MB)

Kathi Lund, Library Media Specialist, from Santa Clarita Elementary School, in Santa Rita, CA., led an impressive science team to implement activities school-wide, beginning with a Whole-School Solar Kick Off assembly in August and then taking the solar theme to the end of the year. Included in the multi-grade activities at Santa Clarita were energy chains, take-home stickers to prompt solar conversation with parents and siblings, ultraviolet bead and magnetic field explorations, “study buddies” to observe changing shadows, and field trips to visit community solar companies. This is just the start. Take a closer look at the presentation to see the creative solar work being done at Santa Clarita Elementary School.