Tilt of Earth's Axis and the Four Seasons

This Tilt of Earth's Axis and the Four Seasons activity & project also includes:

Geometry meets earth science as high schoolers investigate the cause and features of the four seasons. The effects of Earth's axis tilt features prominently, along with both the rotation of the earth about the axis and its orbit about the sun. A rare, clearly defined yet open-ended assignment, this activity easily increases or decreases in complexity depending on the time investment desired.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Divide the class into groups and have each group answer the questions for different locations on Earth
  • Compare the seasons on Earth to those on other planets, teacher-invented or real
  • Suggested extensions include a long-term project measuring the daily length of shadows and a simulation exercise with a flashlight and physical model of Earth
Classroom Considerations

  • Students from outside the US might have a different experience of the four seasons than is culturally assumed in this exercise
  • Last page is blank, if copying costs are a consideration
  • Activity references colors on the images if color copying not available
Pros

  • Strong links to real-world phenomena that students themselves experience
  • Great practice in writing out answers to math questions in readable prose
  • Easily connects to a variety of existing geometry units, including ones on spheres, right triangles, or parallel and perpendicular lines
Cons

  • Cause of the four seasons link on the top of the fourth page is a dead link
Common Core