Average Learning Time
Students explore why there are seasons on Earth, why not all places have the same seasons and why the northern and southern hemisphere have opposite seasons.
They investigate if the distance Earth-Sun can be the cause of the seasons – which is one of the most common misconceptions. Then they establish a relation between the inclination of the solar beam and the temperature of the illuminated surface. With this understanding, they are challenged to relate the temperature with the latitude of different places. Using the online lab “Seasons and the Ecliptic Simulator” they investigate how the sun’s altitude and solar beam inclination change along the Earth’s orbit and what causes these changes. They acquire data for different latitudes and using the relation they have found between temperature and inclination of the beam, they conclude the causes of the seasons, why not all places have the same seasons and why the northern and southern hemisphere have opposite seasons. Finally, they are invited to explore the simulator a little bit more.