How the Seasons are Created


  • Protractors
  • Flashlights
  • Graphing paper


What season are we in? How many seasons do we have? That is right winter, spring, summer and fall. What characterizes them? Yes, the temperature and the length of the day are the most striking differences. Do you guys know why the temperature changes? The Earth goes around the Sun every year and the distance of the Earth to the Sun doesn’t really change to be responsible for the change in temperature. One thing that makes seasons possible is the tilt of the Earth. The tilt of the Earth changes how the sunlight hits Earth in a certain location. Today we will simulate how seasons happen.

Here we have a flashlight, this will be our Sun. And here we have graphing paper, this will be the Earth. You will place the paper in front of the flashlight and shade in the area the light is touching. Later we will move the paper back using the protractor to measure. What do you think will happen when we move the paper? Will the area that gets light change? Write what you think will happen when we move the paper into your notebooks. Let’s divide into groups of three for this experiment.

Now place the flashlight in front of the paper and shade the area of the paper that gets the light. Now change the angle of the paper to 10 degrees, shade again the area. Now do the same for 20 degrees, 30 degrees and 40 degrees. Write down how many squares are shaded? Write that number in your notebook. Now count how many squares you shaded. Which angle had the most squares shaded? Which one had less?

Whenever the area illuminated by the sun is less direct and cover a larger area, the surface of the Earth is colder. Which angle do you think represents summer? Which do you think represents winter?

View/Download the instructor’s PDF: Understanding the Outdoors

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