Explore how charged particles create the colors of the aurora. Make your own display of the northern lights.
Diagramming the Northern Lights
The aurora appears as an oval over the north and south poles of Earth. Discover how solar wind, the atmosphere, and Earth's magnetic field are the perfect recipe to create the phenomena of northern lights. Watch a 25-minute video Kiuguyat: The Northern Lights that combines cultural and scientific information about the aurora. Open up a discussion to review the key concepts together, print or view this poster as a visual aid, and use the worksheet in these lessons (Elementary or Middle School) to illustrate your own diagram of how the northern lights are formed!
Colors of the Aurora
Explore videos & activities about aurora ovals and glowing gasses to learn why the aurora appears as different colors. Read a passage in small groups or partners, discuss the Anatomy of an Aurora poster, and create your own diagram of how the aurora is formed. Check out the Elementary School short reading or the Middle School activity guide and a short reading. This activity is a great lead-in to Illustrating the Northern Lights.
Illustrating the Northern Lights
This lesson is designed to be a wrap up of the Cultural Connections kits and is a good way to cap off a unit of learning about the northern lights, no matter what lessons you do as a group. Grab some chalk pastels and paper, cut out a squiggle for the aurora, and create a dazzling display of lights! Write captions that highlight lasting impressions and discoveries about the aurora. Download guides for elementary or middle school writing levels.
All three of these lessons come from the Cultural Connections kits which can be checked out here.
Hugo L'Achre & Sebastian Saarloos
This project was funded under NASA cooperative agreement NNX16AL65A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.