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Students will collect, record, and graph the sunrise and sunset times.
Earth’s axis is tilted with respect to the sun at an angle of 23.5°. Earth’s tilt affects both the intensity of the sunlight we receive and the number of daylight hours. The summer solstice, which is the longest day and shortest night of the year, occurs on or near June 21st for the northern hemisphere. After June 21st, the days get shorter until on or near December 21 when the northern hemisphere has the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night. There are also two equinoxes throughout the year: one occurs on or near March 20, the other on or near September 23. You can observe the changing number of daylight hours by recording and graphing the time of sunrise and sunset.
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Invitation to Learn
Ask students to write how the time of the sunrise and time of the sunset changes throughout the year.
Sunrise and sunset data for a period of time (e.g., September to December) may be collected from your local newspaper. Each time you collect the data, record it on a large graph and then have students add the new data to their science journals.