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How can the Sun tell you the season? - ARCHIVED
Spaceship Earth Unit | Lesson 14 of 8

How can the Sun tell you the season? - ARCHIVED

Spaceship Earth Unit | Lesson 14 of 8
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Photo #1 of 5: What season is it? Provide at least two reasons for your answer. Hint: Pay attention to the time on the photo.

Kid on bike

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Answer

Summer. Photo taken August 3.

Maybe you said it was summer because the boy is wearing shorts and the grass is green. That’s one clue, but there’s another one. The time stamp says it’s 7:30 in the evening. That’s late in the day, way past dinner time -- but it’s still light out and the boy is playing. In summer, the Sun sets later in the day.

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Photo #2 of 5: What season is it? Provide at least two reasons for your answer. Hint: Pay attention to the time stamp.

Pumpkins

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Answer

Fall/Autumn (photo taken September 22)

See the pumpkins? During the summer, when the weather is warm and there’s lots of sunshine, pumpkins grow bigger and gradually ripen. When the pumpkins are orange, we know they are ripe and the season has changed to autumn/fall — a time for jack o’lanterns and pumpkin pie. Another clue is the mist over the field. The time stamp says it’s morning. Mist appears on cool mornings above the ground after it rains. This sign of cool weather also suggests that summer is over.

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Photo #3 of 5: What season is it? Provide at least two reasons for your answer. Hint: Pay attention to the time stamp.

SunsetWinter

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Answer

Winter (photo taken February 10)

The snow is a give away. In many places, the weather is very cold in the winter. Instead of raining, snow falls and covers the ground. But the time stamp gives you another clue. It’s 9:03 in the morning, but the Sun is just coming up. The Sun rises up late on winter mornings and sets earlier. During winter, the daytime is shorter.

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Photo #4 of 5: What season is it? Provide at least two reasons for your answer. Hint: Pay attention to the time stamp.

Flower

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Answer

Spring, Photo taken March 20

Water from melting snow in early spring helps flowers grow. Yellow crocuses like these are one of the first flowers to come up in the spring. Another clue is the time stamp. It’s 7:01 AM in the morning, but the Sun is out early and shining on the snow. Spring marks the end of winter as the days start to get warmer and sunnier.

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Photo #5 of 5: What season is it? Provide at least two reasons for your answer. Hint: Pay attention to the time stamp.

Bench

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Answer

It turns out it's wintertime. But the reasons for this one are really hard. Rather than giving the reasons now, we’ll come back to them later in the lesson. Next time you see it, you may have some new ideas ...

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Discuss: What changes did you see in the daytime sky over the course of the four seasons?

Reveal answer

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Discuss: Here’s the photo of a bench you saw earlier. Why do you think this photo was taken in winter?

Hint: Look at the shadow.

Bench

Reveal answer

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Discuss: Why does the "slice" of light move slowly each day?

Reveal answer

Discuss: If these rocks were set up on purpose, why do you think the Pueblo people might have done this?

Reveal answer

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Photo #6 of 9: What season is it? Provide at least two reasons for your answer. Hint: Pay attention to the time stamp. That may give you a clue.

Dog

Reveal answer

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Photo #7 of 9: What season is it? Provide at least two reasons for your answer. Hint: Pay attention to the time stamp. That may give you a clue.

Shadows

Reveal answer

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Photo #8 of 9: What season is it? Provide at least two reasons for your answer. Hint: Pay attention to the time stamp. That may give you a clue.

Sunsets

Reveal answer

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Photo #9 of 9: What season is it? Provide at least two reasons for your answer. Hint: Pay attention to the time stamp. That may give you a clue.

Stars

Reveal answer

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & Exploration which you just completed.
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Extra Activity: Sky Dome, Part 2

SkyDome1

SkyDome2

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Demo: Mark a Shadow Across Weeks

Changes in the Sun's position every day add up to big changes over months. Show this by marking the shadow of a stationary object at the same time of day once a week for a few weeks. Mark the shadow of a flagpole with chalk on the blacktop or mark the shadow of the window frame with a post-it on the wall. Every week, the shadow will be in a new position.

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Discussion: Spot of Light

Ask students how to position a paper towel roll to show when it is midday on the winter solstice (the day the Sun is lowest in the sky). They'll need to position the roll at a low angle so that the Sun shines directly through the tube, creating a spot of light. Ask how they would change the position of the tube to mark the summer solstice. Since the Sun will be higher in the sky, they need to raise the angle of the tube.

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Grade 5

Stars & The Solar System

Seasonal Changes

Activity Prep

Print Prep

In this Mystery, students discover how the Sun’s path changes with the seasons. The activity for this Mystery is part of the Exploration. It is a photo challenge, so you will not need supplies.

Exploration

20 mins

Grade 5

Stars & The Solar System

Seasonal Changes

Extend this lesson

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