One year on Earth – Understanding seasons

Brief description

This resource includes two activities to foster and enhance pupils’ knowledge of seasons, and focuses on the basic mechanism behind different seasons on Earth. The resource is divided into different parts, therefore enabling a gradual acquisition of the topic and content. The starting point is a general discussion about seasons by considering the changing colours on Earth over the course of a year. This is followed by a hands-on activity that aims to let pupils explore the influence of the Sun-Earth system on seasons.

Subject Geography, Science

Learning Objectives

• Understand that some trees look different at different times of the year due to seasons.
• Understand that seasonal changes can also be seen from space.
• To explain the relationship between the Sun and the movement of the Earth, and its influence on daytime and night-time
• To explain why there are seasons on Earth and what influence the Sun has on them
• To analyse images and extract relevant information
• To work together and share conclusions

Age range
8 – 12 years old
approximately 45 minutes per activity
Resource available in:
Activity 1: Colours on Earth in the four seasons
In this activity, pupils will explore photos taken on Earth at different times of the year and then work with satellite images. This activity can be done either as a classroom discussion or independently by the pupils using the worksheets. Pupils should look at the images and discuss what time of the year they were taken. Older students can also analyse satellite images showing vegetation index and observe how colours and plant health change globally at different times of the year 
Activity 2: Why does the Earth have seasons?
In this activity, pupils will investigate why the Earth has seasons. For that they will build an Earth-Sun model. They will learn that the Earth turns on its axis from West to East (anticlockwise); and discover that Earth is tilted on its axis and that this tilt is responsible for the seasons. 

• Polystyrene sphere (approx. 10 cm diameter)
• Pen
• Small flag of your country
• 1 wooden skewer
• 2 sheets of A4 paper
• Sticky tape
• Drawing compass
• Torch
• Globe (optional)

Did you know?

Th Earth observation satellites can monitor seasonal changes on Earth from space. Satellites like the European Sentinel-3 carry instruments that can measure changing amounts of chlorophyll in plants, both in oceans and on land. They can also measure radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface, revealing how the temperature of the land changes during the year. In addition, satellite data can be used to monitor the health of Earth’s vegetation and to reveal how the colour of vegetation can change in a year! One ESA satellite specialised in observing vegetation is Proba-V, a minisatellite that is tracking global vegetation growth.

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