Exploring the Seasons
Pictures showing why we have the seasons: Check it out! How do these pictures compare to other animations and pictures you've seen? Read the captions at the bottom of each picture. Some ask you to click on things in the picture. Look at these. Then go back to the "What's happening with the Earth, sun and sunlight?" animation. Do you see anything new?
Sun’s Rays Simulator: How much of the Earth receives sunlight at one time? At what latitude do the sun’s direct rays hit about March 21, June 21, September 22, December 20? Notice the words that appear under these dates (Vernal Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox, and Winter Solstice). What do you think these terms means? Do the lines on the globe (Arctic Circle, Tropic of Cancer, Equator (EQ), Tropic of Capricorn, and Antarctic Circle) indicate something about how the sun hits the Earth? If so, what?
What's happening with the Earth, sun and sunlight? There are many things to click and drag on this site. Change the location of the person. Notice how the angle of sunlight hitting the ground changes. What happens in the northern hemisphere? What happens at the same time in the southern hemisphere? What happens at the equator?
Change the location of the Earth and try again. Some interesting times to try are December 21, March 20, June 21, and September 22. What do you observe?
How is the celestial sphere different from the orbit view? How does the angle the sunlight hits the Earth related to the area the sunlight covers? If the same amount of energy covers more area, is the energy (heat) greater or smaller?
Changes in sunlight: Type in our latitude at Grand Haven (43 degrees N) and watch how the amount of sunlight changes on the earth's surface and at the poles during the year. The date and hours of sunlight we have at our latitude are shown on the screen.
Declination... experiment to find clues about this mystery word.
The Seasons: What on earth is going on?
Video about the seasons: This is a cool video (IMPORTANT: You'll need your headphones). Open this link on your computer and spend several minutes exploring the next website. This video needs time to load so it won't pause while you watch it.
The Seasons: Another explanation…
How long does a day last? This is an interesting website showing how much of the North Pole receives sunlight throughout the year. What are similarities and differences in the amount of sunlight the North Pole receives in December, March, June, and September? Watch the earth revolve around the sun. Click on the stop button during each season. Write your observations about sunlight at the North Pole on paper or share them on our blog.
What are the lines on the globe? What is the dotted line going around the globe near the North Pole? (Look at a globe.) Watch the sunlight change over the year and compare it to the dotted line. Why is the line important? What does it show?
Animation of the seasons: This is an animation of the earth revolving around the sun. It also shows where the sun is at different times of year. Notice how high in the sky the sun is at different times of year. Finally, watch the patch of sunlight change over a year. This part of the animation shows the same amount of sunlight on the surface of the earth. Because the sunlight hits the earth’s surface at different angles during the year, the area that sunlight covers changes.
Here's the Science Builder website. If you have questions about any kind of science, check it out. The username is michigan, and the password is science.