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Activity 2:
Modeling the Seasons

Students will explore climates around the world and how the earth's orbit around the sun affects them. Students will resarch and describe their local climate.

 Unit: Fly Away Guiding Question: What are climate and seasons? Critical Content: Understanding the differences between climate and seasons. Grades: 3-10 Duration: Two 45 minute periods Group size: 3-4 students per group Setting: classroom

Part I - The Earth and Sun

Students make models to show the movement of the earth around the sun.

Materials: Foam balls of different sizes or balloons (clear or white) , color markers, a lamp without a shade for each group, protractors

Procedures:

• A lamp, without the shade, should be used to represent the sun. A globe can be used to represent the earth or students can make an earth from a Styrofoam ball or balloon and draw and label the continents on it.

• Tilt the earth at an angle of approximately 23 degrees and walk the earth around the sun. It should be kept tilted at the same angle and pointed in the same direction the whole way around.

• Observe where the light directly hits the earth at the different times of year.

Discussion Questions:

1. How much time does one trip around the sun represent?

2. How much time does one rotation of the globe represent?

3. When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun what season would occur?

4. When it is tilted away from the sun what season is it?

5. How do the seasons of the Southern Hemisphere differ from those of the Northern Hemisphere?

6. How might the seasons vary as you go closer to the equator or closer to the poles?

Extension: Walk around the sun again, but spin the earth as you go around to represent night and day.

PART II - Climate Maps

Students make a climate map

Materials: Climate data from an atlas or the Internet (see Instructional Resources), colored pens or pencils, template maps of the world.

Before You Begin: Discuss the difference between climate and seasons. Broadly define the categories you wish them to include on their maps, they may choose to further differentiate the regions selected.

Procedure: Students color and label a map to show the different climates around the world. This data can be obtained from an atlas or an Internet site (see Instructional Resources). The climate data should not be too detailed but should still include regions of a humid cold climate, a cold polar climate, a humid tropical climate, a humid warm climate and a dry climate (or similar categories).

Discussion Questions:

1. How are climate and seasons different? How are they similar?

2. Are there any patterns that you have observed on your maps?

3. What accounts for these patterns?

4. How are they related to the rotation of the earth around the sun?
Adaptations: Students can work together to color one big map that can later be used for mapping migration routes.

PART III - Your Home Climate

Students describe the climate and the seasons where they live

Materials: Climate data from a local source or the Internet (e.g., Climate Data Sources and Climate Prediction Center, Temperature and Precipitation), paper and pencil.

Procedures:

• Identify the climate where you live.

• Write a description of each season in your town or city. Include information on the average temperatures, average snowfall, and average rainfall.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why do you think the climate you live in is the way it is?

2. Where are some areas that would be hotter or colder