What our Four Seasons STEM lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Four Seasons STEM provides a hands-on experience as students learn why the Earth undergoes regular changes in weather. Students will discover how the Earth’s tilt affects the weather and environment. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. This lesson requires black paper, thermometers, flashlights, standard rulers, and tape. Students will also need access to the internet for a portion of the lesson.
Options for Lesson
There are a few suggestions in the “Options for Lesson” section that detail ideas and activities that you can incorporate into the lesson plan. You could have students work with partners or in small groups as they complete the activity instead of completing it as a class. You could add a writing component by asking students to write a story about how Earth would be different if it didn’t have a tilt. Use a fictional prompt to help them out, such as, “One day, an asteroid bumped into Earth and straightened it 0ut.”
The teacher notes page provides an extra paragraph of information to help guide the lesson. You can use the blank lines to write down any other ideas or thoughts you have about the topic as you prepare.
FOUR SEASONS STEM LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
Earth’s Tilt and Orbit
The Four Seasons STEM lesson plan contains two content pages. Students will first learn how Earth’s position in relation to the sun dictates the seasons. Each year, Earth rotates one time around the sun. It takes 365 days for our planet to orbit once. As it rotates, the Earth’s tilt changes directions. Or rather, where the sun hits the Earth is different because of its tilt.
This tilt is what causes the four types of seasons that we can experience on the Earth. The amount of daylight and darkness changes in each hemisphere. The amount of light determines how warm or cold the temperature is at that location. Seasons occur because of the Earth’s tilt and changing rotation around the sun. This is because the amount of sunlight at each location changes slightly as the Earth orbits.
To be exactly, the tilt of the Earth is 23.5 degrees. The northern hemisphere, the hemisphere above the equator, is tilted away from the sun during the months of December, January, and February. During this period, days are shorter, meaning that there is not as much daylight throughout the day. This makes the temperatures cooler. Therefore, this season is winter.
The southern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun during this same period. These areas receive more daylight, and the days seem longer. That means that the temperatures are also warmer. So during the same three months, the southern hemisphere experiences the season of summer.
For half of the year, the North Pole is tilted toward the sun. For the other half, the South Pole is tilted toward the sun. When the North Pole is closer, the northern hemisphere gets more sunlight. The same is true for the South Pole. This means that the two hemispheres have opposite seasons. When it’s winter in the United States, it’s summer in Australia!
FOUR SEASONS STEM LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Four Seasons STEM lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. These worksheets will help students demonstrate what they learned throughout the lesson and reinforce the lesson concepts. The guide on the classroom procedure page outlines when to hand out each worksheet to your students.
TEMPERATURE CHANGE ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Using the materials you provide each group, students will work together to simulate temperature under various circumstances. First, they will lay a thermometer on the black paper. They will attach the ruler to the flashlight, allowing five inches to stick out on the side where light shines. Next, they will shine the beam of light directly on the thermometer for five minutes. After they let it cool back to room temperature, they will hold the flashlight at a 45° angle from the thermometer for five more minutes. The worksheet provides a list of questions for them to answer after they complete the experiment to demonstrate how seasons work.
TILT OF THE EARTH PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet requires students to observe your demonstration (see the classroom procedure guide) and answer the questions. You will need a student volunteer to help you. You will place a yellow ball on a stool or desk in the middle of the room. The volunteer will simultaneously spin a globe while walking around the stool counterclockwise. After students answer the first few questions on the page, they will draw a picture of the Earth and sun in the box on the worksheet. Then they will answer a few more questions to complete the task.
FOUR SEASONS STEM HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
For the homework assignment, students will respond to nine questions based on what they remember from the content pages. You may choose to let them use the content pages for reference if they need help.
Worksheet Answer Keys
There are answer keys for the three worksheets. The correct answers are in red to make it easy to compare them to students’ work. There may be some variation on some questions or prompts, like the one that relates to seasons in your specific city. For the most part, however, students’ answers should reflect those on the keys. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.