Teaching Through Trade Books: Seasons by the Sunby: Meri-Lyn Stark

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Understanding the Sun has challenged people since ancient times. Mythology from the Greek, Inuit, and Inca cultures attempted to explain the daily appearance and nightly disappearance of the sun by relating it to a chariot racing across the sky. While people no longer believe the Sun is a chariot racing across the sky, teachers are still challenged to help children develop accurate understandings about the Sun and the "reasons" for the seasons. This article offers suggested activities.

  • Elementary
  • Middle
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Reviews (5)
  • on Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:23 PM

These are some great resources to use. They can be used in different grade levels.

Berenice D
Berenice D

  • on Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:00 PM

Trade books can help students make connections to knowledge that they have gained after use of inquiry-based activities. This journal article has two books that explain the reason for the seasons... along with activities to activate and reinforce learning of this concept. Students love to use trade books and demonstrte their knowledge of the world around them. Great activities!

Susan Grandick
Susan Grandick

  • on Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:42 PM

The article reviews two children's nonfiction books about seasons on Earth, then provides detailed, comprehensive, and excellent instructions for activities to guide children through the books. The activities reinforce the science concepts found in the books, using a hands-on, inquiry focus. The age-appropriate, interesting activities would be enjoyed by the children, and create artifacts they can keep and refer to as they get older. One book is aimed at younger children (grades 1 - 3), but both could be used effectively in any elementary grade.


  • on Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:44 AM

Teaching students about the seasons continues to be a challenge. Newer research suggests that we wait until students are older before we attempt to teach this concept. Having said that, I found the suggested activities are an appropriate intrduction to this very complicated concept. I like the idea of students measuring shadows at different times of the year. They will begin to notice some differences and hopefully start them thinking and questioning. After discussion, I would read the book! Artic Lights, Artic Night is a great book...an Outstanding Science Trade Book!!

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)

  • on Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:35 PM

This short article focuses on two trade books, "Sunshine Makes the Seasons" and "Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights" and discusses how these trade books can be effectively used with elementary school aged students to increase their knowledge of the Sun and the reasons for the seasons. I found that this article fully described how these trade books can be obtained as well as offering concrete examples of instructional activities that a teacher would use, with the trade book, to instruct young children at a developmentally appropriate level.

Dorian Janney  (Gaithersburg, MD)
Dorian Janney (Gaithersburg, MD)

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