3.3.6 Earth And Sun RelationshipPresentation Transcript
Earth / Sun Relationship: The Seasons Beth Joyner
Social Studies Standard 3: Geography 3.3.6 Physical Systems: Explain the basic Earth/sun relationship, including how it influences climate, and identify major climate regions of the United States. Taken from: http://dc.doe.in.gov/Standards/AcademicStandards/StandardSearch.aspx
Vocabulary The summer solstice is the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, occurring in the Northern Hemisphere when the North Pole is leaning more directly toward the sun than it does on any other day. During the period marked by the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is warmed by more direct sunlight and days are long and hot. The winter solsticeis the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. The winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere occurs when the North Pole is leaning away from the sun. When the North Pole is pointing away from the sun, the Northern Hemisphere receives only indirect sunlight.
Vocabulary Continued The autumnal equinox is the first day of autumn and occurs when the North Pole begins to lean away from the sun. The vernal equinox is the first day of spring and occurs when the North Pole begins to lean toward the sun again. Taken from: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/activities/07/season.html
Background Information Seasons and the Earth-Sun Relations The Earth's axis always remains pointing in the same direction as it revolves around the sun. As a result, the solar angle varies at a given place throughout the year. The variation in sun angle is the prime cause of our seasons. The orientation of the Earth with respect to the Sun also determines the length of day. Together, the sun angle and day length determine the total amount of solar radiation incident at the Earth. Taken from: http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ritter/geog101/textbook/energy/earth_sun_relations_seasons.html
Materials Needed for Activity Computers with Internet access Writing and drawing materials Maps of northern and southern hemispheres
Introduction Ask the students to describe any differences they notice between winter, spring, summer, and fall. Ask them if they know why these seasons occur. What happens to the Earth to make the seasons change? Write their answers on the board.
Activity Have students read A Reason for the Seasonto help them understand why different seasons occur. Next, have them draw two diagrams showing the relationship between the Earth and the sun. One during the winter and one during the summer in their hometown.
Activity Have students reinforce their understanding of the seasons by playing the Cosmic Map game. They will be asked to look at the Earth in four different positions and to identify which diagrams represent the summer solstice, winter solstice, vernal equinox, and autumnal equinox.
Activity Hold a class discussion on the science behind the seasons to make sure students understand the basic concepts of why the seasons occur. Ask students to state whether they are currently closest to the summer solstice, winter solstice, vernal equinox, or autumnal equinox.
Activity Have students use new pieces of paper to draw diagrams showing the relationship between the Earth and the sun as it would be on the day they are doing this activity. Next, give each student a map of the northern and southern hemisphere, and have them place a small x in the location of their hometown.
Activity Have students draw additional x's next to the following places on the Earth in their diagrams: Santiago, Chile Belem, Brazil (at the mouth of the Amazon) Fairbanks, Alaska They can use National Geographic's MapMachine to help locate these places.
Closing Discuss what students think the weather is like in each of these places right now. They should base their predictions on their knowledge of the seasons, referring to their diagrams. Go to weather.cnn.com and confirm their predictions by searching each place and finding out what the current weather is. Activity taken from: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/07/g35/seasons.html