Updated On: May 13, 2020

Sunsets and Sunrises

Art & Design

Illustration

Children & Teenagers
Follow Instructions: Follow one of multiple step-by-step sunset illustration tutorials here.

Science

Children & Teenagers
Teach: The temperature on the dark side of the moon is around -279F or -173C and it’s roughly the same distance from the sun as earth. Why don’t we feel the weather get well-below freezing immediately after the sun goes down? The atmosphere.

Astronomy & Space Science

Children & Teenagers
Watch: Our sun is 4.5 billion years old. Learn more about it from this Sun 101 video by National Geographic.

Children & Teenagers
Teach: Throughout the year, the sun will rise and set at points further left or right of the horizon. Help the learner visualize what a planet on a tilted rotation looks like at different points around the sun and consider how much sunlight different areas of the planet will get at different points in the orbit.

Children & Teenagers
Teach: Other planets have drastically different lengths of a day. From shortest to longest, this is how long it takes for each of the other planets in our galaxy to complete a full rotation on their axis – or in other words, to experience one sunset (measured in earth time units): Jupiter (9 hrs), Saturn (10 hrs 33 min), Neptune (16 hrs 6 min), Uranus (17 hrs 14 min), Mars (about the same as earth – 24 hrs 37 min), Mercury (58 days), Venus (243 days).

Biology & Human Body

Children & Teenagers
Teach: What is it about our bodies that makes us get tired after the sun goes down every day? We have a natural body clock (or circadian rhythm) that regulates our feelings of sleepiness or wakefulness every day. Our brain tells our body to be awake when there’s a lot of light and tired in the absence of light.

Children & Teenagers
Teach: The angle that sun light is hitting the sky and the amount of moisture, dust, or pollution in the sky all have an affect on its colors. The human eye cannot see all colors. During the day, the sky is actually blue and violet, but we can’t see the violet light.

Physics

Children & Teenagers
Watch: How long does it take for light to come from the sun to earth? On average, 8 minutes and 20 seconds. However, there’s more to learn about that in this 2 minute explainer video.

Children & Teenagers
Teach: The sky has different colors during sunrises and sunsets because a phenomenon called scattering. Particles and molecules in the earth’s atmosphere shift the direction of light rays. Wavelengths of light are different and so are the sizes of particles. During sunsets and sunrises, the sun light is passing through more air, which causes the blue light to scatter more by the time it reaches the sky above you. What’s left is the yellow, orange, and red light. Red has the longest wavelength and so it is the first color you see at dawn and last color you will see at a sunset.

Children & Teenagers
Teach: Under the most polluted skies of the world, the sun does not appear as yellow. It is red – look up pictures of it. The reason is because red has the longest wavelength and so it is the first color you see at dawn and last color you will see at a sunset.

Social Sciences

Geography

Toddlers & Children
Discuss: The time zone you are in depends on the longitude of where you are in the world. Look up what time of day it is in other parts of the world here and discuss about what people are probably doing right now in those places.

How else might important subject matter be learned from this interest topic? Comment below! Half-baked ideas are more than welcome, too.