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GRADE LEVEL: 5-8

TOPIC/SUBJECT MATTER: Earth Science

TIME ALLOTMENT: 1-2 Class periods

OVERVIEW:

This lesson uses video segments from the NATURE film “Earth Navigators” to explain what causes the Earth’s seasons and seasonal changes.  Students will explore the causes and effects of the changes in the Earth’s seasons using a hands-on activity and a Web interactive.  As a culminating activity, students will learn about seasonal milestones using video segments from ‘Earth Navigators.”

MEDIA RESOURCES:

Video

Access the streaming and downloadable video segment for this lesson at the Video Segments Page.

Clip 1: Earth’s Seasons

Web sites:

Seasons Interactive

This Web interactive contains seasonal information for four cities around the world over the course of one year.

Times Solstices & Equinoxes 2000 – 2010

This Web site gives the times and dates of the solstices and equinoxes from 2000 – 2010, using information drawn from the U.S. Naval Observatory

Standards:

National Science Education Standards, Grades 5-8

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=4962

Earth and Space Science

Content Standard D

As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop an understanding of

  • Structure of the earth system
  • Earth’s history
  • Earth in the solar system

EARTH IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM

[See Unifying Concepts and Processes]

  • The earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets. The sun, an average star, is the central and largest body in the solar system.
  • Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion. Those motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, phases of the moon, and eclipses.

The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the earth’s surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. Seasons result from variations in the amount of the sun’s energy hitting the surface, due to the tilt of the earth’s rotation on its axis and the length of the day.

MATERIALS:

For each student:

  • Seasonal Milestones Organizer (PDF) (RTF)
  • Seasonal Milestones Organizer Answer Key (PDF) (RTF)

For each pair/group:

For the class:

  • Globe
  • Large beach ball
  • Seasonal Milestones Organizer Answer Key
  • Seasons Interactive Organizer Answer Key

Objectives:

Students will be able to;

  • Explain Earth’s pattern of orbit around the Sun
  • Describe seasonal milestones
  • Identify factors that contribute to seasonal changes
  • Compare seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

Before the Lesson/Prep for Teachers:

Prior to teaching this lesson, you will need to:

Preview all of the video segments and Web sites used in the lesson.

Download the video clips used in the lesson to your classroom computer, or prepare to watch them using your classroom’s Internet connection.

Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom. Using a social bookmarking tool such as del.icio.us or diigo (or an online bookmarking utility such as portaportal) will allow you to organize all the links in a central location.

Make copies of the Student Organizers for each student in the class.

Proceed to ACTIVITIES

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