Welcome Educators! This teacher's guide was produced by the National Center for Atmospheric Research as a companion to the Climate Discovery exhibit at our Boulder, Colorado laboratory. It contains lessons appropriate for grades 5-9 on a variety of Earth system science topics that facilitate student learning about our planet's climate system.

The Sun-Earth Connection

In this unit, students explore the dynamic nature of the Sun and its magnetic fields as well as Earth's magnetic field. Beautiful images of the Sun, hands-on inquiry activity, and an investigation of real data that relate the Sun's variations to the Earth's climate allow students to understand the connections between the Sun and Earth, sunspots and climate.

Click on the links to the right to open the lessons within this unit. All lessons are in pdf format and require Acrobat Reader to open.

(Click to download the free Acrobat Reader.)

1 Exploring the Dynamic Nature of the Sun

2 Planet Magnet

3 The Magnetic Sun

4 Sunspots and Climate

Additional Online Resources

A Classroom Presentation About the Sun (ppt)

Windows to the Universe: Space Weather


Climate Discovery Teacher's Guide

For more information:

  • Project Coordinator: Susan Foster
  • Scientist: Gang Lu, Joan Burkpile
  • Educational Designer: Lisa Gardiner
  • Teacher Consultants: Barbara Monday, Stephanie Weber, Doug Haller

Funding for this project was provided by a NASA grant to G.Lu at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, High Altitude Observatory.