In this lesson, students analyze data and construct claims using evidence and reasoning to explain the connections between seasons, temperature, and solar energy.
There are slides, a worksheet, student response form, rubric, videos and additional teacher support materials provided to support this lesson.
Students are constructing their own understanding of the seasons using data directly.
The lesson provides teacher talking points to assist teachers in guiding discussions.
Students should be able to read a map using latitude and longitude, be familiar with energy transfer, and understand that the Earth orbits the Sun.
This lesson can be done in an in-person classroom or virtually using the provided Google Slides and Forms.
Teachers can request an answer key using the link in the lesson plan.
In this lesson, students read and interpret maps, which allows for cross-curricular connections with geography courses.
There is a rubric provided for the Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning (CER) statements, which allows for these to be used as a formative or summative assessment.
For students who may need additional support, teachers can provide sentence stems for the CER statements.
Teachers may need to address the common misconception that seasons are caused by the distance from the Sun to the Earth. Consider using a prop, such as a basketball or globe to help students visualize the direction of the axis (always pointing in the same direction) as the Earth orbits the Sun.
Connect this lesson to astronomy lessons, as the North Pole always points towards Polaris and there are variations in the orbit and rotation of the Earth (Milankovich cycles) that change the climate over very long time scales
This resource from NASA introduces students to how solar radiation and surface temperature vary seasonally and then tasks students with making a scientific claim and supporting it with evidence from supplied data. The resource begins by ensuring that students understand sunlight distribution across seasons as well as equinoxes and solstices. Attention then turns to solar radiation, before students are presented with radiation and surface temperature time series plots for three locations. Students are tasked with making a claim about the relationship between solar insolation and surface temperature and then use these figures to build support for their claim. This resource prioritizes using evidence to support claims and understanding figures. Several excellent video resources are included that help to illustrate difficult concepts. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe
MS-ESS1-1 Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.
ESS2: Earth's Systems
MS-ESS2-6 Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.