By Jenna Walker
University of Idaho

ITV Series: "Earth's Seasons" #121

TR00262A.gif (1715 bytes)Overview

This will be an introductory lesson to the unit. The class will discuss characteristics of each season. The students will identify the specifics of each season and also how those characteristics differ from one part of the world to another. We will also discuss the solstices (dates and what season change it signifies). Students will create ""Father Time and Mother Earth" book depicting the four seasons.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify characteristics in correlation with each season and identify dates of the changing seasons
  • Students will be able to identify and describe how the Earth rotates around the sun and its effects on the temperatures of the earth.
  • Students will be able to describe the reason for the season differences in the hemispheres and why it is important that the earth is tilted on its axis.
  • Students will be able to identify the equinoxes and solstices and why the are important.
  • Students will be able to identify time changes from each time zone.


  • 7-8 pieces of paper
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • One leaf
  • Flower for each student

Pictures depicting each season enlarged so the entire class can view easily. One rotating globe and one flashlight per every four students.

Focus for viewing

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, the teacher will ask them to pay particular attention to the information regarding the tilt of the earth's axis, how the earth receives its heat, the different hemispheres and their seasons, and the dates which signify changes in the seasons.

Procedures for Activity One

The teacher will conduct a class discussion on the seasons and distinguishing features of each of the seasons. Class will also discuss the equinoxes (June 21 & September 21) and the solstices (March 21 & December 21). The class will also be introduced to the concept of daylight savings time (April-October) and its impact on the amount of daylight we have during the seasons.

Students will take a trip outside and collect one leaf and one small flower from around the schoolyard. (If this is not available, the teacher will provide the materials.)

The class will watch the Earth's Seasons video and participate in the discussion and activity that demonstrate how the earth turns. The activity will consist of showing students a hands on model of the earth rotating around the sun. The discussion will be based around points in the video and will be teacher initiated.

Students will create a booklet on the seasons. The activities for each season consist of:

  • Spring: Paste or draw a flower on one of the pages. Decorate the page with things of nature that remind you of spring.
  • Summer: Students will draw a scene of their favorite summer activity.
  • Fall: Students will paste or draw the leaf from outside and decorate with depictions of the fall season.
  • Winter: Students will cut out a snowflake and paste it in the book. Decorate according to favorite winter activities or scenery.
Viewing activities

The teacher will begin the videotape after focusing the students' attention on the most important parts of the video. The tape will give an explanation about direct and angled rays from the sun on the earth. Pause the tape after the announcer says "This is why direct rays produce more heat." Start a discussion asking students to explain, in their own words, the reason that the summer is hotter and the winter is colder. Ask probing questions such as, " Why do you think the area you live in is hotter/colder than other areas" and "Why are places such as California and Florida always warm and there is no winter season?"
Resume the video focusing the students attention on seasons by asking the question, "Why do you think it is summer in South America when it is winter here?" The video will then explain about the earth's axis being tilted and its orbit around the sun. Pause the video when the child says, "How can it be summer in Alaska and winter in Argentina?" Hold a discussion on the earth's axis and why that is an important component to the season changing. Ask question such as, "Why must the Earth's axis be tilted? What would happen if the Earth did not turn at an angle?" and "What do you think would happen if the earth didn't spin?"
Focus the student’s attention back to the video by posing the question, "'Do any of you have relatives that live on the East Coast? Is it a different time there than it is here?" Resume the video. Pause the video at the sentence, "Look at the time," and begin discussing the various time zones. As a class, figure out what time it would be in Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, Sidney, and The Cayman Islands.
Focus the student’s attention by asking about when the season changes and what brings about these changes. Resume the video. Pause the tape after the sentence "What do June 21 and December 21 have in common?"

Discuss the first lesson and what the students learned about equinoxes and solstices. Review daylight savings time and how it affects the amount of light that we experience during certain seasons. Resume the video and finish watching the entire tape.


The teacher will present four pictures of different seasons, enlarged and in the front of the classroom. Students will be asked what season each picture represents and will justify their answer. The class will discuss the distinguishing features of the pictures and will talk about what part of the country the picture might depict.

The students will make a physical representation of the earth moving around the sun. Groups of four students will gather around a rotating globe. One student will hold a flashlight straight towards the globe and another will spin the globe slowly in order to depict the rays of the sun on the Earth. This activity represents the heat the Earth feels during winter and summer.

The students will make a map of the world and separate it according to the various time zones. They will color each part of the map to make it a clear line between time zones. (Time permitting)


  • The students will also be asked to create a report or a portfolio about a different region of the country or world
    and explore its season and temperature changes. The recommended resources are as follows: Internet, encyclopedias, and books on that state or country.
  • Take a trip to a scientific museum or solarium where students can explore, first-hand, the Earth's activities.
  • Study of the changes of the rising and setting of the sun for one week a month and then discuss how it changes over the course of a year.
  • Create his/her own physical depiction of the solar system and how each rotates around the sun.
  • Other extensions include cross-curricular points such as reading books about the Earth, writing a journal about what it would be like to live in an area which is opposite of the one they live in, or a study of latitude and longitude and calculating the exact location of the school.

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