When did you last see the stars against a dark sky?
Even in the depths of the countryside, truly dark starry nights are becoming harder and harder to find. Security lights, floodlights and streetlights all break into the darkness, lighting up the surrounding area. Some of this light is necessary, in order to keep people safe on our streets – but much of it is wasting energy and increasing air pollution.
Light Pollution can disrupt wildlife by interferring with their natural behavioural cycle, which is determined by the length of nighttime. There is also has an impact on human health such as sleep disorders, visual impairment and disrupting our natural body rhythms.
The problem is getting worse. In less than a decade, between 1993 and 2000, light pollution across England increased by around a quarter (24%). The amount of truly dark sky dropped too, from a sixth of the country to just over a tenth (11%).
What can your school do to help?
We would like to find out the extent of light pollution in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we need help from local schools and communities to do this.
pdf Activity 2 - Measure light pollution using technology (204 KB)
pdf Dark Skies Teaching Guidance (238 KB)
pdf Homework recording form (113 KB)
pdf SQM recording form (114 KB)
When can you use these activities?
The Dark Skies activity cards can be used for the following subjects in KS2. Included below are some useful links to materials which can support lesson planning.
- Year 3 Light: To recognise that they need light in order to see things in the dark and dark is the absence from light. www.academo.org/demos/bortle-scale/ - shows the affect of light pollution on seeing stars; www.need-less.org.uk/night%20sky%20simulator - a night sky simulator
- Year 4 Environmental Impact: To recognise that environments can change and this sometimes poses dangers to living things. Example: pupils should explore examples of human impact, positive and negative on environments. www.darksky.org/assets/documents/ida_human-health_brochure.pdf, www.britastro.org/dark-skies/
- Year 5 Earth and Space: To explore Earth and Space. www.moonconnection.com/moon_phases_calendar.phtml, www.globeatnight.org, www.schoolsobservatory.org.uk/, www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk/
- Year 6 Environment Adaption: To identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit environments in different ways and adaption may lead to evolution. www.darksky.org/assets/documents/ida_wildlife_brochure.pdf