Pedagogy in Action > Library > ConcepTests > ConcepTest Examples > ConcepTest: Eccentricity and Seasons

ConcepTest: Eccentricity and Seasons

ConcepTest questions by David McConnell , David Steer , Walter Borowski, Jeffrey Dick, Annabelle Foos, Jeffrey Knott, Alvin Konigsberg, Michelle Malone, Heidi McGrew, Kathie Owens, and Stephen Van Horn

Created with funding from NSF CCLI Award #0087894.
This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Question:

Mars has a more eccentric orbit of the Sun than Earth. Mars is 20% closer to the Sun during winter in its Northern hemisphere than it is during its summer. What would be the implications for the seasons on Earth if we had a similarly eccentric orbit with Earth being much closer to the Sun during winter in the Northern Hemisphere?

a. Summer would be longer than winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
b. Winter would be longer than summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
c. The length of the seasons would not be affected.

Student Responses:

No data yet. The correct response is A.

If you would like to help acquire more Before and After statistics for this example, please contact the authors (see link at top of page).

References and Notes:

The use of ConcepTests and Peer Instruction is discussed in detail on the ConcepTest page.

McConnell, D.A., Steer, D.N. and Owens, K.A., 2003, Assessment and Active Learning Strategies for Introductory Geology Courses, Journal of Geoscience Education, 51(2), 205-216.

McConnell, D.A., Steer et al., 2006, Using Conceptests to Assess and Improve Student Conceptual Understanding in Introductory Courses, Journal of Geoscience Education, (54(1), 61-68.