Lightweaver Communications

Seasonal Cycles

Click to watch the seasons change.

In this tutorial you simulate the movement of the earth, moon and sun in order to gain a better understanding of seasonal cycles.

Students have many misconceptions about Earth's motion in space. For example, a common misconception is that the earth is further from the sun in winter than in summer. Some of these misconceptions come from student misinterpretation of perspective drawings in Earth Science textbooks. Researching and constructing a 3D animation of the Earth's motion in space will help students build a more scientific understanding of the Earth's motion in space.

Questions that we will seek to answer in this tutorial include:

1. What causes night and day?
2. What causes the seasons?
3. Why are the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere?
4. Why are the days longer in the summer than in the winter?
5. What causes the apparent changes in the sun's position throughout the year?

Sources of Information

To animate the seasons you need numerical data about the movement of the Earth, Moon and Sun. Good sources of information include:

Level: Beginning to Intermediate

© 2000 Michele Matossian

© 2000 Michele Matossian