Measuring the Diameter of Our Star

Alia Davis
Curtis High School, Staten Island

Summer Research Program for Science Teachers
August 2010

Level: Astronomy, Earth Science, General Science, Grades 6-12

Prior Knowledge: A general understanding of the layout of the solar system as well as basic math skills.


Time: 1 hour

Teacher Instructions: Teachers may want to consider modeling a few of the cuts so the students can see what the instructions refer to; depending on grade level you may also want to put the pin-holes in yourself. 

Lab Activity: Students will use attached handout to determine the diameter of the Sun.


New York State Science Standards 

STANDARD 1 - Analysis, Inquiry, and Design


Key Idea 1:

Abstraction and symbolic representation are used to communicate mathematically.

M1.1 Use algebraic and geometric representations to describe and compare data.


Key Idea 1:

The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process. 

STANDARD 4 - The Physical Setting

Key Idea 1: The Earth and celestial phenomena can be described by principles of relative motion and perspective.

Key Idea 2: Many of the phenomena that we observe on Earth involve interactions among components of air, water, and land. 

STANDARD 6 - Interconnectedness: Common Themes


Key Idea 2:

Models are simplified representations of objects, structures, or systems used in analysis, explanation, interpretation, or design.

STANDARD 7 Interdisciplinary Problem Solving


Key Idea 2:

Solving interdisciplinary problems involves a variety of skills and strategies, including effective work habits; gathering and processing information; generating and analyzing

ideas; realizing ideas; making connections among the common themes of mathematics, science, and technology; and presenting results.