This collection of worksheets will visually demonstrate to students how the position of the axis affects the amount of sunlight a particular hemisphere will experience. We will also show how tides with greater or lesser force are generated and maintained. You will find sheets that look at how seasons are created, solar and lunar eclipses, and how the Earth makes revolutions around the sun. The strongest part of these season worksheets is how they visually can tell you a story.
Provide the name of the season (summer or winter) shown on the lines below each diagram and provide the names the imaginary lines of latitude on the Earth.
The Earth's rotation on its axis causes day and night as the sides face the sun or face away from it. In the diagram below, indicate which of the brackets are showing day and night.
When the Earth, moon, and sun are at right angles, the pull is minimized and causes the weakest tides: neap tides.
Sometimes, when they are aligned just right, the moon can cast a shadow on the Earth or the Earth can cast a shadow on the moon.
When the Earth, moon, and sun align with the Earth between the moon and the sun then the moon moves into the Earth's shadow. This causes a lunar eclipse.
When the Earth, moon, and sun align with the moon between the Earth and the sun then the Earth moves into the moon's shadow. This causes a solar eclipse.
The Earth's position during its orbit on four different dates is shown below. On the solid lines provide the dates of the two equinoxes and the two solstices.
Why Do We Have Seasons?
Unlike most world maps would have us believe, the Earth is actual tilted at a 23 degree angle as it rotates in place. This slight, and I mean slight, tilt has a big impact on what happens on the Earth's surface. In some cases it will result in hotter areas and colder areas of the Earth over the course of its movement around the son. Because the Earth takes so long to revolve around the sun (365 days), this results in changes in climate on Earth. This is the reason that most of the areas on Earth see four unique seasons. The amount of sunlight that reaches any surface on the planet is directly affected by whether it is point at the sun for a short or long time.
Depending on where the planet is located in its revolution around the sun determines which season the Northern or Southern Hemispheres are experiencing. Which ever hemisphere is tilted toward the sun is experiencing the warmer seasons. That hemisphere will experience longer days and shorter nights because the sun is present much longer. The opposite hemisphere is undergoing the colder seasons, shorter days and longer nights.No matter where we live, we all experience seasonal variations yearly. One day, it's soaking hot, but before you know it, the cold autumn air starts to brush your cheeks. How is this possible?
We have seasons because of the earth's rotation around its axis. We experience summer when our hemisphere is tilted towards the sun and winter when it faces away from it.
To better understand how seasons change and how regions can have different types of seasons, stay with me in the following sections.
What Elements Drive Seasons To Change?
Three major factors produce seasonal variations:
- The sun's heat energy
- The earth's rotation around a tilted axis
- The earth’s revolution around the sun
To grasp the concepts that follow, we first have to establish two basic facts. The first one is that the sun releases heat energy that's huge enough to make us experience varying extents of heat on earth depending on our relative location. The second is that the planet is an oblate spheroid that rotates around its axis (which is currently tilted at 23.5º) and revolves around the sun.
Throughout the earth's rotation, its sun-facing side experiences daylight, while the opposite side experiences nighttime. The transition between the former and the latter happens within 24 hours.
In a similar sense, the region where the earth's axis points directly to the sun experiences summertime, while the area where the axis is tilted farther away experiences winter.
This is because even if the sun produces massive heat energy, our location relative to it still impacts the extent of heat we receive. Practically speaking, the region receiving the most heat energy will be the one facing the sun and will hence go through summertime. Meanwhile, the area receiving the least intensity of the sun's rays goes through winter.
In addition to warm summers and cold winters, the earth's axis is oriented at 90º from the sun at precisely two points within the calendar year - during autumn and spring. These complete the four seasons. We receive roughly the same amount of day and nighttime during these times.
How Many Seasons Are There?
Technically, there are four seasons: summer, winter, spring, and autumn (or fall). They come with characteristic weather patterns and dictate which crops thrive, which clothes make us comfortable, and how much day and nighttime we receive.
Due to climate change, however, weather patterns have also somehow been disrupted. We currently experience much colder winters than expected or much hotter summers. At times, strong storms also unexpectedly come during summertime. Such unexpected events may catch regions off guard and cause serious consequences.
Additionally, regions near the equator do not experience these seasonal variations.
Why Do Some Regions Only Have Two Seasons?
Countries in the tropics do not experience highly contrasting temperatures throughout the year. Since they are near the equator, they receive roughly the same amount of the sun's energy. Instead, what more noticeably varies is the amount of rainfall they receive. This is why they are said to have wet and dry seasons.
The earth's rotation around its axis is responsible for the seasonal variations we experience. When it's summertime in our region, it simply means we're on the side of the hemisphere where the axis points directly towards the sun.
Conversely, the other hemisphere experiences winter. In autumn and spring, we experience equal hours of night and day as the earth's axis is exactly oriented at 90º away from the sun.
Nevertheless, while we're more familiar with having four seasons a year, regions near the equator experience only dry and wet seasons, as only the amount of rainfall - not temperature - noticeably varies.