Brilliant idea: the Friday solar field of science!

Celebrate all that is sunny with Sun Camp! Designed for students aged 5-9 (and people who love them), Sun Camp will offer five weeks of great conversations with sun scientists and hands-on activities for you to try on your own.

The days are getting shorter, but we have a great way to bring some extra sunshine into your life. This fall join us for a brilliant idea: Sun Camp! The center of our solar system and our closest star, the Sun is much more than a light bulb in the sky. It is a dynamic system, in constant evolution. These changes affect us here on Earth in many ways, some obvious and others mysterious. But understanding the Sun and how it works could be the key to discovering new living worlds in our Universe.

Top 5 Reasons to Attend Science Friday Sun Camp:

  1. All U.S. children aged 5-9 and their families, guardians, and siblings are welcome to join us FREE.
  2. Online Q&A every Wednesday with real scientists and experts. Bring your questions!
  3. STEM hands-on weekly activities that bring the science of the sun to earth.
  4. Step-by-step instruction guides, additional resources, extension tasks, and more. Unnecessary experience!
  5. After-school programs, libraries, and other community organizations are welcome to join in the solar-powered fun.

Would you like to know more? keep scrolling!

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The sun emits a solstice ECM
This image from June 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm EDT shows the bright light of a solar flare on the left side of the sun and an eruption of solar material crossing the solar atmosphere, called a prominence eruption. Credit: NASA

Il Sole 101 – Wednesday 19 October 2022

  • What are the properties of the Sun and how do they affect its function?
  • Find out what the Sun is made of, how it produces energy, how it changes over time and what the solar cycle is.
  • Create a swirling pattern of the Sun with shaving cream and food coloring.

The Solar System – Wednesday 26 October 2022

  • How does the Sun affect the planets of our solar system?
  • Discover the intricate ways in which the Sun, the moon and the planets interact with each other.
  • Test gravitational and centripetal forces using plastic eggs, marbles and paper plates.

The Sun and the Earth – Wednesday 2 November 2022

  • Why is the Sun important to the Earth?
  • Explore the many ways sunlight affects life on Earth.
  • Create shadow trails and examine the effects of ultraviolet light.

Solar weather – Wednesday 9th November 2022

  • How do the cycles of the Sun affect the Earth?
  • Immerse yourself in space time and the Northern Lights.
  • Study the power of magnetic forces and check their limits.

Beyond the Sun – Wednesday, November 16, 2022

  • How can our understanding of the Sun help us learn more about other stars, solar systems and planets?
  • Look beyond our solar system to distant stars and planets orbiting them.
  • Design your own mini space probe with recycled materials.

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Frequently asked questions about the solar field

The only active region in the profile
The rotation of the Sun has brought a new active region into view, revealing the dynamic arcs and tortuous flows of its magnetic field (10-11 October 2018). Credit: NASA

Who is this for?

All children in the United States and their sun-loving caregivers are welcome to join us as we build, experiment and investigate using activities that bring the science of the sun to earth. Not a heliophysics expert? no problem! We will have weekly newsletters, detailed project guides, short instructional videos, question and answer sessions with real NASA scientists, extension activities and many tips to help young people feel engaged and successful.

Do you have a group? great! Clubs, scouts, after-school programs, libraries, museums, homeschool cooperatives, and other community organizations are invited to join in the solar-powered fun.

What can I expect from Sun Camp?

Science Friday’s Sun Camp will start on Wednesday, October 19 and run through November 16. After signing up, you will receive a weekly email newsletter with everything you need to know to participate in Sun Camp. You will also be invited to a special online session every Wednesday at 4pm PT / 7pm ET. During this virtual meeting, we will dive into an important solar science topic with a NASA guest expert who will answer questions from our budding scientists. You’ll also have access to a new science or engineering hands-on activity each week to complete on your own, using the instructions and resources provided by Science Friday’s team of educators. When you complete projects, you can share your work with us and we will present it online. At the end of the Sun Camp, there will be a short survey of your experience.

The impact of the dawn
Illustration of a cloud of CME particles ejected from the sun hitting the Earth and creating an aurora (in the real photo of the aurora taken by an astronaut on the space station). Credit: NASA / GSFC / SOHO / ESA

How much?

Sun Camp is totally free. Most business supplies are easy to find at home or at your local hardware store. We also offer a limited number of free material kits for groups and families who meet our criteria.

How can I participate?

Just fill out a short form to sign up for Sun Camp. And be sure to check regularly for updates and to check out the creations of your fellow sun science explorers.

Why the sun?

Well, the Sun is quite important for life on Earth, for the functioning of our solar system, and for the future of both space exploration and alternative energy, so we want everyone to have the chance to learn more about our star more close. We partnered with the NASA Heliophysics Education Activation Team (NASA HEAT). NASA HEAT connects audiences across the nation to the innovative and captivating science of heliophysics: the physics of the Sun and its connection to the Solar System. Together Science Friday and NASA HEAT are launching students of all ages on a trajectory towards scientific discovery.

What if I have more questions?

Please email with the subject “SciFri Sun Camp”. For registration updates, we suggest you sign up for our Science Friday Educare Newsletter, sign up for the STEM Educator’s Lounge on Facebook and follow Science Friday on Twitter.

Sun Camp button
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Meet the writer

Sandy Roberts

About Sandy Roberts

Sandy Roberts is Science Friday’s Education Program Manager, where she creates learning resources and experiences to promote STEM equity in all learning environments. She recently played with origami circuits and tried to perfect a gluten-free sourdough recipe.

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