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Axis: the imaginary line that cuts through the center of a planet and connects the north and south poles......more
Equator: an imaginary line along the middle of the Earth, going from side to side.
Hemisphere: one half of a planet. Earth is divided into the northern and southern hemispheres, which are separated by the equator.
Horizontal: a position that goes from side to side, like when you lie down.
Poles: opposite ends of the Earth, (North and South)
Tilt: when an object is angled to one side
Vertical: a position that goes straight up and down, like when you are standing up.
Have you ever thought about your favorite season, and why it looks and feels the way it does? Depending on where you live, you may experience temperature-based seasons (with cold, warm, and hot months of the year), or climate-based seasons such as dry and wet. This activity will help you see and understand why Earth has seasons, and the two things that work together to make seasonal changes happen.
You will be making your own model “Earth” out of clay and using this in front of a battery-powered tap light bulb to see how much light shines on the Earth during certain seasons. You will revolve your Earth model around in a counter-clockwise circle to observe and record how much light shines on each of your hemispheres during each season.
Through this activity, you will see how parts of the Earth other than your own experience seasons, with different amounts of sunlight intensity. Ask yourself how the tilt of our Earth’s axis, along with the yearly revolution Earth makes around the Sun, might affect the seasons where you live.
Be sure that the batteries in your tap light work; this is essential to your success with this activity!
Be sure to work with your clay on the paper blotter- this will protect your desk from getting the oils in the clay on it and making a mess.
Have your Science notebook and a sharp pencil ready to record what you see. By revolving your clay sphere around the tap light, you will be observing the effect of how intensely sunlight falls on the Earth at different times of the year.
Your Science notebook can be used to record observations of how the light will fall on your sphere, and it is a good idea to sketch the amount of light you see on the sphere as you revolve it around the tap light to give you an understanding of different seasons.
Read Switching of Seasons to make sure you’re familiar with the different kinds of seasons and get a first look at why seasons occur in some areas of the world.
Dan Brehony is a 5th Grade Science teacher at San Tan Elementary School in Higley, Arizona. Dan has been teaching 5th Grade for twelve years, and teaching 5th Grade Science exclusively in a departmentalized setting for 3 years. Abel Torres is currently a teacher candidate at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, and has been working with Mr. Brehony’s 5th Grade Science students for the 2013-2014 school year.
Additional images via Wikimedia Commons. Fall leaves by flemming christiansen.
Abel Torres, Daniel S. Brehony. (2015, May 21). Seasoned to the Tilt. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved January 19, 2020 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/experiments/seasoned-tilt
Abel Torres, Daniel S. Brehony. "Seasoned to the Tilt". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 21 May, 2015. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/experiments/seasoned-tilt
Abel Torres, Daniel S. Brehony. "Seasoned to the Tilt". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 21 May 2015. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 19 Jan 2020. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/experiments/seasoned-tilt