Science Sampler: How long is your day?by: George Nock

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The tilt of the Earth on its axis and the manner in which sunlight strikes the Earth remains one of the most misunderstood concepts taught in an introductory astronomy course. The misconceptions that surround the reasons for the seasonal variations we experience on Earth often go unchanged as students’ progress through their education. To help students to understand the world in which they live, the activity described in this article allows students to create a physical model of the Earth-Sun system to help them better understand the effect the tilt of the Earth has on the length of the day. In addition, they utilize the internet to collect and analyze data for themselves.

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  • on Sat Nov 03, 2012 3:52 PM

This article presents a number of activities students can do to help them to gain an understanding of the effects of the Earth's tilt on seasons and daylight hours. In addition to simple physical models, the author provides information on how to access an internet database to find sunrise/set times for cities around the US and world to compare how daylight changes throughout the year - a good technological tie-in. I recommend this article for middle and high school teachers looking for ways to help students to grasp this important concept. I think upper elementary students might also be able to do these activities but the database activity would have to be explained well.

Tina Harris  (Bloomington, IN)
Tina Harris (Bloomington, IN)

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