How are you not thinking of the Fiddler on the Roof with this title? The only reason why you aren’t mesmerized with this classic is if you are thinking about seasons and how the length of day changes throughout the year. If you aren’t playing the Sunrise, Sunset tune when the lesson starts then You Light Up My Life is another alternative.
To teach seasons, you really MUST introduce common misconceptions, namely that the orbit is almost a perfect circle. It is NOT an elliptical shape where the seasons are contingent upon distance between the Earth & Sun. You really have to play the classic video about the pompous (and WRONG) Harvard grads who think they can explain how seasons work. It is a 2 minute impressive video showing how unimpressive college grads knowledge is regarding seasons.
Another absolute MUST DO while teaching seasons is this interactive website where you can change the axis to 0 and show what the effects of NO TILT would have on Earth. Students love changing the tilt and seeing the cause and effect. So, what would Earth be like with a 90 degree tilt??? It’s all about the tilt, tilt, tilt…
To introduce the technology element into this unit, download a LUX Meter app (many are free) onto iPads or smartphones. Using heat lamps, have students investigate changing the angle of the iPad with a protractor at 0 degrees and 23 degrees (or tilting toward and away from the heat lamp) WHILE measuring the lux. Lux is the measurement of light. Notice that the more direct light produces strong light. In conjunction with measuring the lux at different angles, check out a SUNRISE SUNSET calendar. Have students graph how the length of day impact seasons. I’m always interested to see if the kids ask about the big changes in time that go along with daylight savings. Check if they understand how the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are opposites. Can they explain WHY?