Education and Public Outreach

Around and Round: Lunar Phases, Planetary Orbits, and Seasons

Seasons Resources

Websites from Today

Education Resources at LPI
We have placed today’s powerpoints onto our Web site so that you may access them for yourselves.  Feel free to download and share with other teachers. 

The powerpoints are located under the Resources section at Seasons.

Other Sites:

Today, we used activities and referred to items you can find at the following sites.  See the Resource list for further information, activities, and content.

Modeling the Night Sky activity
StarDate Online has a number of activities for the classroom; this one uses an entire class to model motions of objects in the solar system with respect to the stars.

Stellarium is planetarium software that shows exactly what you see when you look up at the stars. It's easy to use, and free.

Websites – Activities

Universe at Your Fingertips —
An online astronomy resource guide offering a large suite of activities pertaining to seasons for all age groups. Also provided are links to other Web sites.
The Seasons and the Sun in the Sky
The Sun

Seasons Activities
Eyes on the Sky, Feet on the Ground is a collection of fully illustrated online astronomy activities from Harvard University for older children. In-depth explanations accompany each activity.

Exploration of the Earth’s Tilt and Seasons
Graphing Activity by Que Tal? Designed for ages 12–16 and includes a detailed explanation of seasons along with a “tool box” of links to other sites.

Seasons Interactive
This visual program allows users to observe the Sun’s motion across the sky at various inclinations, for different times of the year.

Astronomy Simulations and Animations
A compilation of various online programs on astronomical topics. This site includes links to paths of the Sun and sun motions simulators, ecliptic, daylight hours, and more.

This program includes a dvd with Native American myths and legends about the Universe. The SkyTeller’s web Site at the Lunar and Planetary Institute includes information, activities, and resources on a variety of astronomical subjects. Educators can also order the dvd and play the stories for their classes.

NASA Kids Spring is Here!
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center imparts information about seasons for younger and older children along with seasons “buzzwords,” an animation, and an interesting link to the Native American folktale, “How the Seasons Were Set.”

Starchild – Seasons
Children of all ages will enjoy this site from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, which includes the audio track from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” as well as a graphic depicting Earth’s position during the different seasons in our two hemispheres.

National Geographic Xpeditions – A Reason for the Seasons
Offers educators a detailed and comprehensive collection of seasons activities and lesson plans for all ages. Also helpful are lesson extensions and related links.

Journey North’s Mystery Class
Invites children ages 12–16 to locate “mystery classes” in cities around the world by analyzing data about sunlight and seasons. Educators will enjoy this free instructional Web site and may order a one-hour video and fifty-page workshop guide to supplement it.

Websites – Images and Information

Native American Indian Resources Site
Beautifully parallels the Lakota story of seasons with the corresponding scientific explanation, including illustrations. Appropriate for older children and young adults.

Online Textbook
Michael J. Pidwirny of the Department of Geography at Okanagan University College in British Columbia offers an online textbook that includes an in-depth explanation of seasons for young and older adults along with tables, illustrations, and links to additional sites.

Bad Astronomy – What Causes the Seasons
What do students really think is the reason for the seasons? Phil Plait reveals and dispels everyday misconceptions about seasons in his “Bad Astronomy” Web site. Good resource for educators.

US Naval Observatory Seasonal Data
The Astronomical Applications Department of the U.S. Naval Observatory presents seasonal data pertaining to equinoxes, solstices, perihelion, and aphelion — both past and future — for young and older adults.

Blue Marble: The Next Generation
Satellite imagery of our planet stitched together to form completely cloudless maps of our world, for each of the four seasons.


Why Do We Have Different Seasons?
Isaac Asimov, 1997, Gareth Stevens Publishers, ASIN 0836804392
Asimov offers a simple explanation of seasons with illustrations and photos for ages 7–11. Seasonal aspects of migration, hibernation, and celebrations are discussed. .

Sunshine Makes the Seasons
Franklyn M. Branley, 1990, Harper Trophy, ISBN 0064450198
Children ages 5–8 will enjoy the scores of colorful illustrations in this easy-to-read text. The causes of seasonal changes are highlighted. The book also includes a demonstration with a pencil and an orange.

The Reasons for Seasons
Gail Gibbons, 1996, Holiday House, ISBN 0823412385
With the aid of helpful illustrations, Gibbons clarifies the reason for seasonal differences in the hemispheres for ages 6–10. Each season is presented both separately and as a part of the larger cycle.

Celebrate Seasons/Book and CD Kit
Sara Jordan, 1999, Sara Jordan Publishing, ISBN 1894262034
Jordan couples 10 songs with activities to celebrate and reinforce season concepts, including solstices and equinoxes, and how seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres differ.

The Real Reason for the Seasons:  Sun-Earth Connections — Unraveling Misconceptions About the Earth and Sun
Alan Gould, Carolyn Willard, and Stephen Pompea, 2000, published by GEMS: Great Explorations in Math and Science, ISBN 0924886455
Designed for ages 11–14, this GEMS unit includes inquiry-based classroom sessions designed to address misconceptions about the Sun-Earth connection.