This is an activity about the shape of the Earth’s orbit. Learners will first use elements of the orbit of Earth and Pluto and an apparatus using string, a pencil, and pushpins to accurately draw an ellipse, showing the nearly circular shape of the orbits of Earth and Pluto. They then measure real images of the Sun in each season, determining the apparent size of the Sun to see if it changes throughout the year. By determining the apparent size of each Sun image and by seeing the shape of Earth's orbit, learners will confront the misconception that seasons are caused by changing distance of the Earth from the Sun. Finally, learners reflect on the results of the Sun-Earth Survey, which is Activity 2 in this set. This is Activity 4 in the Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) guide titled Real Reasons for Seasons: Sun-Earth Connections. The resource guide is available for purchase from the Lawrence Hall of Science. This activity recommends use of an overhead projector.


    Education Levels:

    • Grade 1
    • Grade 2
    • Grade 3
    • Grade 4
    • Grade 5
    • Grade 6
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    Space Science,Grade 8,Grade 6,NSDL,NSDL_SetSpec_ncs-NSDL-COLLECTION-000-003-112-115,Heliophysics,Grade 7,Earth and space science:Astronomy:Size and scale,Vocational/Professional Development Education,Earth and space science:Earth, moon and sun:Seasons,Middle School,Geoscience,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20140407123203981T,Space science



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