Round & Round: Seasons and Cycles

Sunny and 70 degrees — Spring Fever!

This time of year I love my World Sunlight Map gadget on my iGoogle homepage. For a similar image at is the World Sunlight Map mercador projection. “Watch the sun rise and set all over the world on this real-time, computer-generated illustration of the earth’s patterns of sunlight and darkness. The clouds are updated every 3 hours with current weather satellite imagery.” In just a couple days, the night shadow will be straight indicating the equinox. Check back at the summer solstice and see no night shadow on the arctic. Other projections are also available.

Seasons and moon cycles are topics in fifth grade science. As simple as these topics may seem, the underlying science is not. Perhaps it is because we experience our lives through these cycles that we don’t think about the science concepts involved. Video segments and online interactive activities can provide an overview of the celestial image and shorten the timeline so students can visualize the science content to improve their understanding. The Reasons for the Seasons is a video aimed at grades 3-5 that explains planetary rotation, the earth’s tilt, and more. The Earth’s Orbit is an interactive video from DE Science for Middle Schools. Two DE Explorations, The Seasons for grades K-5 and To Every Season for grades 6-8.

The current moon phase is also pictured on The DE Exploration Moon Phases is designed for grades K-5 and The Inconstant Moon is for grades 6-8. The tool Lunar Cycle Challenge from ScienceNetLinks, a partner of Thinkfinity, presents a calendar of moon phases with some missing for students to finish.


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