This is an animated interactive simulation that illustrates differential solar heating on a surface in full sunlight versus in the shade.
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This simulation can be paired with online interactive lessons such as Modeling the Earth's Climate found at [link http://has.portal.concord.org/browse/investigations/56]
With further support, the activity can used in middle school as a teacher-guided activity. Student-centered instruction should be possible with high school and/or lower college classes.
This simulation compares the solar heating under the sun and in the shade using two temperature sensors. The simulation starts at 12am and assumes that the sun rises at 4am and sets at 8pm.
Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.
The simulation is engaging and colorful and students are able to change some of the properties of the simulation to get different results, so there is opportunity for exploring how a range of initial conditions affects solar heating.
As the sun moves across the sky in the simulation, the changing temperatures in the sun and shade are graphed across the screen so an easy comparison can be made between them.
No direct lessons are provided, but suggestions are made on how to create different scenarios that may place students in the role of solving an engineering-design challenge.
The simulation works well on both PCs and Macs as long as you have the current version of the Java plugin. A link is provided to download that plugin if needed.
Model can be run and stopped at any point. Screenshots are always an option for teachers to employ so that at different points as the sun passes overhead, students capture the data screen at the exact point in time.