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Notes on the Seasons

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Students will complete guided notes while learning about the earth's seasons.


Background for Teachers

The reason why we have seasons is one of the toughest concepts for students to grasp. It is far easier to believe the misconception that we have seasons because we are closer to the sun in the summer and further away in the winter. This is actually false, we are further away in the summer and closer in the winter. Also, this does not explain why we have winter when the southern hemisphere has summer. Helping students to overcome this misconception can be quite difficult.

The purpose of the guided notes is two fold. First, it is a way of teaching students to take notes. Second, it is a tool to help students review for a test. Guided notes can be used in the classroom with each unit of study. They can be stored until the end of the year when they are pulled out and used as a means to review for the end-of-level test. Guided notes are teacher-prepared handouts that follow what you are going to teach. They are easy to make, you simply write down the things that you feel are most important for students to know and are identified in the Core Curriculum. After you have done this, you decide key words that you want students to focus on. These words are deleted and a blank space is put in their place. The student fills in these blanks as the teacher goes over the notes.

Intended Learning Outcomes

2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn
Guided notes rarely take the whole period, so this is a great time to review the vocabulary that is at the end of each section of the Core Curriculum. Flashcards, while old fashioned, are still a good way to introduce, learn, and use science language. The cards can be laminated and placed on a ring for easy storage. Introduce each word by reading it and the definition, then have students repeat them with you. Review five to eight words a day. Students have one minute to go through the cards as quickly as they can. As soon as they think they can pass off all the words in under one minute, they come to you and try. Show them the definition side; they have to read the definition and say the word for all the words in the set in under one minute. If they are able to do that, they are able to pass off other students, helping them to continue reviewing the words.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Give each student a Guided Notes--Seasons handout.
  2. Place the Guided Notes--Seasons overhead on the projector and turn it on. This serves as a guide for you. In classes where the students can keep up, do not fill in the blanks; simply repeat and have the students repeat the words in the blanks. Write in the words to accommodate students with special needs or those who are English language learners.
  3. Guided notes are easy to do. You simply read the sentence, filling in the blanks. Students write the words that go in the blanks on their handouts. Repeat the sentence, having students say the words that go in the blanks.
  4. As you teach the notes, demonstrate the different concepts. For example, when you talk about the North Star, take a globe and point the axis towards the North Star that you have placed somewhere in your room earlier (preferably on the ceiling or upper portion of the north side of the classroom). Pick a student or object to represent the sun. Revolve around that object while keeping Earth's axis pointing toward the North Star.
  5. As you complete the notes, periodically review previous concepts covered, especially if they pertain to what you are currently talking about.

Assessment Plan

  • Have students review their notes periodically.
  • As a quiz, hand out a copy of the notes for students to fill in the blanks.
  • Use the notes to write multiple choice and short answer questions for tests.

Created: 11/15/2004
Updated: 02/05/2018