Polar Bears and Northern Lights

As I incorporate more science into our art projects things get more and more interesting. A project takes on new depth and meaning for the students when it is no longer just a picture of  "a polar bear at night with a pretty sky".

It becomes a testament to the creators love of beauty and the science that proves, in part, how he did it!

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The Northern Lights

What we  know today that the aurora borealis, commonly called the “northern lights” occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun zoom into Earth’s atmosphere. The phenomenon is most commonly witnessed during fall and winter months at high-latitude locales, including Alaska and northern Canada.

 

What causes the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. The variations in color are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.

The fabulous projects below were created by my 1st through 8th grade students. They LOVED doing this project!

1st and 2nd Grade

3rd and 4th Grade

5th through 8th