Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Solstice and Equinox, and supports the standard of using a model of the Sun, Earth, and Moon to describe seasons. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask students: Why are there more hours of daylight in summer than in winter? 

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description on the Solstice and Equinox topic page
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “In Depth” or “Laws and Customs.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate. 

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a news report announcing the winter solstice. Describe how the Earth’s tilt and position impact people living at the equator, in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, and at the poles. 
  •  Make-a-Map: Identify Earth’s position in relation to the Sun at multiple points of the year, and describe impact on people living in different regions. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a meme representing what it’s like where you live during the summer and winter solstices.

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about solstice and equinox. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • Why are the seasons different in the Northern and Southern hemispheres? 
  • Why does the Sun appear to move in different arcs across the sky at different places on Earth? 

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with a Solstice and Equinox Challenge.

Step 5: EXTEND LEARNING

Examine satellite images of Earth’s terminator and cite details to answer questions about this primary source.

 

 

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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