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Modeling the Seasons
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.
Guiding Question: What
are climate and seasons?
Critical Content: Understanding
the differences between climate and seasons.
Duration: Two 45
Group size: 3-4
students per group
I - The Earth and Sun
make models to show the movement of the earth around the sun.
Foam balls of different sizes or balloons (clear or white) , color
markers, a lamp without a shade for each group, protractors
- 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.
- How much time does one trip around the sun represent?
- How much time does one rotation of the globe represent?
- When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun what season
- When it is tilted away from the sun what season is it?
- How do the seasons of the Southern Hemisphere differ from those
of the Northern Hemisphere?
- How might the seasons vary as you go closer to the equator or
closer to the poles?
Walk around the sun again,
but spin the earth as you go around to represent night and day.
II - Climate Maps
make a climate map
Climate data from an atlas
or the Internet (see Instructional
Resources), colored pens or pencils, template maps of the world.
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.
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
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).
Students can work together to color one big map that can later be
used for mapping migration routes.
- How are climate and seasons different? How are they similar?
- Are there any patterns that you have observed on your maps?
- What accounts for these patterns?
- How are they related to the rotation of the earth around the
III - Your Home Climate
describe the climate and the seasons where they live
Climate data from a local
source or the Internet (e.g., Climate
Data Sources and Climate
Prediction Center, Temperature and Precipitation), paper and
- 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.
- Why do you think the climate you live in is the way it is?
- Where are some areas that would be hotter or colder