Sun FUNdamentals

cover of Sun FUN curriculum

Grade Level

  • K-3


  • Kits, Curricula, & Resources

Driving question: How do we use sunlight and shade to help us?

Introduce your youngest students to sun and shade! Sun FUNdamentals is an introductory unit on light and shadows for K–3 that incorporates engineering principles in engaging, hands-on lessons, using NGSS and Common Core as frameworks. With a focus on being an engineer, students will build, share, and redesign models to understand how we can use sunlight and shade. The kit gives you all you need to explore light and shadows with different materials. 

Concept progression:

  • The sun warms the earth.
  • Certain materials block the sun’s rays/warmth from reaching earth’s surface/us. Other types of materials allow the sun’s rays/warmth to reach the surface/us.
  • Shadows are created when light is blocked.
  • The size and shape of shadows created by objects that block sunlight changes depending on the location of the light source.

Student outcomes:

  • I can test different materials to find out if they let light pass through or if they block the light.
  • I can design a shadow for a model tree that will block light. I can modify my tree so that it blocks as much light as possible.
  • I can design a structure that blocks light and gather data about the shadows it creates. I can notice how these shadows change as the light is moved to represent the time of day.


Kit includes: Model trees, index cards, building connector set, flashlight, various sample squares of materials to explore the effects of sun and shade, Sun Up, Sun Down book, and more. Click here to view the full Sun FUNdamentals kit inventory.

Kit size: 1 large plastic tote

Kit cost: $40.00/$60 for both Sun and Wind FUNdamentals 

NGSS Standards addressed

K-PS3-1 Energy: Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.

K-PS3-2 Energy: Use tools and materials provided to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.

K-2ETS1-1 Engineering Design: Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.

K-2ETS1-2 Engineering Design: Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

K-2ETS1-3 Engineering Design: Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.

1-PS4-3 Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer: Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.

2-PS1-1 Matter and Its Interactions: Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.


  • Solar