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This chapter provides an overview of the science of studying the Earth system, with a focus on understanding the connections among phenomena that can be traced through the energy, hydrological and biogeochemical cycles, on a range of time and... (View More)

Audience: Elementary school, Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free

In this activity, students learn the basics of the horizon, direction and the rising and settings of the Sun and stars by making a schoolyard "medicine wheel" with sidewalk chalk on playground asphalt. Medicine wheels are stone rings constructed by... (View More)

This lesson attempts to correct the common misconception that the Earth is closer to the Sun during the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Proceeding from student preconceptions, small groups participate in an exploration of the cause of the seasons... (View More)

The purpose of this kinesthetic activity is for students to learn the relative motions of the Earth, Sun and Moon. Awareness of these different motions is needed to develop an understanding of the causes of the day/night cycle, the seasons and the... (View More)

This is an activity about seasonal variations in day length. Learners will graph the number of daylight hours in each month in cities around the world and compare results. They will also gain an understanding of the meaning of the term equinox... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free per student

This is an activity about identifying and comparing the Earth’s seasons. Learners will write paragraphs depicting scenes or events that have recognizable season-related elements, without revealing the intended name. The group will then play a game... (View More)

This is an activity about understanding how the Earth’s axial tilt changes the angle at which sunlight hits the Earth, contributing to the variations in temperature throughout the seasons. Learners will create a sun angle analyzer in order to see... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: 1 cent - $1

This is an activity about misconceptions relating to seasons. Learners will answer survey questions which specifically assess common misconceptions regarding the seasons, and learners are also encouraged to give the same survey questions to friends... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free per group of students

This is an activity about the shape of the Earth’s orbit. Learners will first use elements of the orbit of Earth and Pluto and an apparatus using string, a pencil, and pushpins to accurately draw an ellipse, showing the nearly circular shape of... (View More)

This is an activity about the size and scale of the Sun-Earth system. Learners will take an imaginary trip to the Sun by comparing images of the Sun and Earth at different points in altitude above the Earth. This is to ultimately conceptualize the... (View More)