Recommended Grade Level: 6-8
- Estimated Time: 8 forty-five minute sessions
Objective: Seasons is a free and innovative 8-day unit that provides interactive videos, hands-on activities, lesson plans, and student worksheets to explore the causes behind Earth’s seasons. The curriculum uses a combination of Earth- and space-based visualizations and models to address common misconceptions and strengthen students’ spatial reasoning skills. Seasons is aligned with standards for middle school Earth and Space Science (NGSS MS-ESS1-1).
The program covers the Sun’s apparent motion in Earth’s sky; Earth’s motion around the Sun; Earth’s tilt; the tilt’s relationship to the seasons; and energy transfer from the Sun to Earth. Join us as we use WorldWide Telescope to journey around the solar system to better understand the causes of seasons on Earth!
This Curriculum Guide provides educators with all the necessary materials for each day of the 8-day ThinkSpace Seasons curriculum. You will find included: daily lesson plans; student activity sheets; classroom activities; and (on most days) interactive instructional videos. All of the materials provided on this webpage (other than the Additional Resources) can be found within this Instructional Guide.
Alternate version of the Curriculum: Little Bits is a fun enhancement if your classroom has a budget for it. Curriculum built around these light sensors helps model how the angle of the Sun's rays affect temperature.
In order to run the Seasons curriculum in your classroom, you will need to use the Seasons multimedia content as well. You have two options here. You can either (1) run a collection of videos on a classroom projector, or (2) download and use the interactive Seasons WorldWide Telescope file (you will need to download the WorldWide Telescope application to your computer as well).
Session 1 Video
Session 2 Video
Session 3 Video
Session 4 Video
Session 5 Video
Session 6 Video
Session 7 Video and WWT Links
Session 8 Video
Full Seasons Curriculum, Standard
Full Seasons Curriculum, Alternate (with littleBits)
Session 1 Sheets
Session 2 Sheets
Session 3 Sheets
Session 4 Sheets
Session 5 Sheets
Session 6 Sheets
Session 7 Sheets
Session 8 Sheets
Session 1 | Modeling Day & Night
Session 5 | Modeling Earth's Tilted Axis
Session 5 | Common Mistakes Students Make
Seasons on WorldWide Telescope
All of the Seasons videos were made using WorldWide Telescope (WWT), a free, interactive software that models our universe and allows users to record tours of their explorations. WWT requires Windows, so the tours are converted into videos for accessibility. However, if you would like the (optional) fully-interactive experience, follow the steps below to install and run WWT.
Download the Seasons WorldWide Telescope tour file (.wtt) from Zenodo.
How do I run a WWT tour on my computer?
You will need to download WorldWide Telescope to your Windows computer to run a WWT tour file.
- Download WWT (for free) from worldwidetelescope.org.
- Download the Seasons WorldWide Telescope tour file (.wtt) above.
- Double-click the .wtt file to open and run the Seasons tour.