Seasons

  • Recommended Grade Level: 6-8     
  • Required Time: 8 forty-five minute sessions

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!

Seasons Preview Video

Watch this short video for an introduction and demonstration of the Seasons curriculum in practice.

Curriculum Guide

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.

Seasons | Curriculum Guide (standard) pdf

 

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.

Seasons | Curriculum Guide (alternate, with littleBits) pdf

Students studying Seasons on WorldWide Telescope

Students modeling for seasons

Instructional Media

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).

 

Activity Sheets

In this section you'll find the Activity Sheets that your students will need for every day of this curriculum.

Full Course

Full Seasons Curriculum, Standard

Complete sets of Activity Sheets || Answer Keys (color) | Answer Keys (b&w)

Full Seasons Curriculum, Alternate (with littleBits)

Complete sets of Activity Sheets || Answer Keys (color) | Answer Keys (b&w)

additional materials

Key Terms and Concepts 
Extension Questions

Session 1 Sheets

Session 1: Space-Based Perspectives

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

Session 2 Sheets

Sessions 2-3: Apparent Path of the Sun in the Sky

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

additional materials

Cardinal Directions Signs (for the classroom)

Session 3 Sheets

Sessions 2-3: Apparent Path of the Sun in the Sky

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

additional materials

Cardinal Directions Signs (for the classroom)

Session 4 Sheets

Session 4: Sun Angle and Energy

Standard: Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)
littleBits: Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

additional materials

Square Counting: square-gridded paper

 

Session 5 Sheets

Session 5: Earth's Tilted Axis

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

additional materials

Model Place Mat
Seasons Signs (for the classroom)

Session 6 Sheets

Session 6: Tilted Axis and Sun Angle

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

Bonus Questions

Questions Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

Session 7 Sheets

Session 7: Tilt and Day Length

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

additional materials

Extension Questions

 

Session 8 Sheets

Session 8: Earth's Orbit

Activity Sheet || Answer Key (color) | Answer Key (b&w)

 

Demo Videos for Modeling

In this section you'll find videos to demonstrate how to conduct various modeling activities in your classroom (as well as some common mistakes students make that you should look out for).

Session 1 | Modeling Day & Night

Session 5 | Modeling Earth's Tilted Axis

Session 5 | Common Mistakes Students Make

 

Additional Resources

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.

  1. Download WWT (for free) from worldwidetelescope.org
  2. Download the Seasons WorldWide Telescope tour file (.wtt) above.
  3. Double-click the .wtt file to open and run the Seasons tour.