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The activities in this lesson will help students understand how Earths tilt on its axis changes the length of daylight and creates the seasons.
The Seasons of Arnolds Apple Tree, by Gail Gibbons, ISBN 0-15-271246-1
Sun Up, Sun Down, by Gail Gibbons, ISBN 0-15-282782-x
The Reasons for Seasons, by Gail Gibbons, ISBN 0823411745
The Little Island, by Golden MacDonald and Leonard Weisgard, ISBN 0-440-40830-x
Sunshine Makes the Seasons, by Franklyn M. Branley and Michael Rex, ISBN 069004481X
The Real Reasons for Seasons, Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS), ISBN 0- 924886-45-5
Bill Nye the Science Guy. Earths Seasons; ISBN 1932644342 9781932644340
There are many misconceptions about what causes seasons. When people think about Earths revolution around the sun, many picture a very oval, elliptical shape. Actually, Earths orbit is a slightly elliptical circle. Thus, the distance between the sun and Earth does not change significantly throughout the year.
Earth spins on its axis, which is what causes day and night. The axis is tilted so that the North Pole points at the North Star, Polaris, all of the time. Because of Earths tilt and revolution around the sun, each of Earths poles is tilted towards the sun for part of the year. Consequently, each pole is tilted away from the sun for part of the year. When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, the result is more hours of daylight and more direct sunlight. These two factors create warmer temperatures for the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in the season of summer. When the days are shorter and the sunlight is much less direct, it is the season of winter.
1. Use science process and thinking skills.
2. Manifest scientific attitudes and interests.
3. Communicate effectively using science language and reasoning.
Invitation to Learn
Sing the song Why Do We Have Seasons with students. This is a simple echo song to the tune of Charlie Over the Ocean. The teacher sings each line and the students echo back. This simple song includes all essential elements on why Earth has seasons throughout the year.
Part One: The Earths Movements
Part Two: The Tilt
Part Three: The Seasons
Part Four: Creating a Paper Seasonal Model
Part Five: Graphing the Sunlight
Curriculum Extensions/Adaptations/ Integration
Huitt, W. (2003). Constructivism. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date], from http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/cogsys/construct.html
The constructivist approach to teaching states that when a student feels safe and secure in his/her learning environment, the processing of new thoughts and ideas will take place. Advocates of constructivism state that it is the stimuli of the environment, rather than the stimuli themselves that most greatly impact student achievement. In most curriculums, knowledge and skills are taught separately and then connected, versus the constructivism-oriented classroom in which students acquire content while carrying out tasks that require higher- order thinking. For example, scientific knowledge is usually taught by working students through information piece by piece, rather than looking at new knowledge from a holistic viewpoint. Teachers need to first consider the knowledge and experiences students bring with them to the lesson. Then, the instruction should be built so that the students can expand and develop new knowledge by connecting it to previous experiences and learning. Teachers should provide a mixture of direct instruction, active practice of the new skill, and feedback. The constructivist approach is centered on a students pre-existing experiences, filling the gaps and providing ample time, space, experiences, with choice and differentiation for students to display their new knowledge.