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This article explains the role of the tilt of Earth's axis on seasonal changes. An accompanying exploration dispels the commonly held misconception that distances between the sun and Earth are a factor. The article is targeted to children ages 10-12.

Audience: Informal education
Materials Cost: Free

Learners use a Styrofoam ball, sunlight, and the motions of their bodies to model the Moon's phases outdoors. An extension is to have children predict future Moon phases. This activity is part of Explore! Marvel Moon.

In this activity, learners draw a circle with a single focus, an ellipse with two foci close together, and an ellipse with two foci far apart, and compare the shapes. Learners then measure the Sun in four images each taken in a different season,... (View More)

This is an activity about the motion of the Earth around the Sun. Learners will act out the motions of Earth as it orbits around the Sun over the course of one year, starting with modeling one day, then one year, and finally the months.

In this kinesthetic activity, learners act out the rotation and revolution motions of Earth around the Sun over the course of one year. Learners also physically model the tilt of the Earth and will identify the summer and winter solstice and vernal... (View More)

This is an activity about the concept of direct versus indirect sunlight. Learners construct and use a sun angle analyzer to investigate the effect of angle on area illuminated. The fraction of light on each square of the analyzer is then calculated... (View More)

This activity, effective outdoors or indoors, demonstrates how insolation is affected by latitude by using a pair of thermometers, each taped to some cardboard, placed outside on a sunny day. A globe can also be used, outdoors or indoors. Students... (View More)

This worksheet provides a pair of satellite world maps, showing vegetation in January and July, and has a series of questions guiding exploration of the similarities and differences in the two images. The activity is from Space Update, a collection... (View More)

in this science-based storybook, students learn about seasonal migration of hummingbirds as they are exposed to the scientific process. Students Anita, Simon and Dennis and the rest of Ms. Patel's class research when the hummingbirds have gone and... (View More)

In this activity, students engage in long-term systematic observation to learn about the apparent annual motion of the Sun caused by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Students put a dot on a window where sunlight enters the classroom (or any room... (View More)

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