Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience > Interactive Lecture Demonstrations > Examples of Teaching with Demonstrations > Seasons
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David Steer and Kyle Gray, University of Akron
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. GEO-0506518.


Demonstrating the Seasons
While working in groups to facilitate peer tutoring, students manipulate a hands-on, physical model to better comprehend the Earth's position in space, the Earth's rotation axis and seasons. Students use the model to observe changes in insolation between the equator and poles, and explore the relationship between axial tilt and seasonal changes.

Learning Goals

Students will understand:

Context for Use

This model works best during units on Earth's place in the solar system or weather and climate as a tool for engaging student inquiry. Student manipulation of the model requires more than one person, thus it works best when students are grouped together.

Teaching Materials

Each student model consists of the following materials: A larger instructor's demonstration model can be used to illustrate the proper orientation of the model and highlight key observations. It consists of"

During the lecture, have the student groups work through each of the following tasks. After groups have completed a task, demonstrate the correct answer using the instructor's demonstration model.

Student Task #1

Student Task #2

Student Task #3

Teaching Notes and Tips

When manipulating this model, the students may encounter the following problems:


Several different assessment techniques can be used depending on time and the needs of your class.

References and Resources


Physics:Astronomy:Solar System, Geoscience:Lunar and Planetary Science

Resource Type

Activities:Classroom Activity:Short Activity:Demonstration

Grade Level

Middle (6-8), Intermediate (3-5), High School (9-12)

Earth System Topics

Solar System and Astronomy


Solar system


Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Planetary Science

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