Climates and People

Now that you have learned how latitude and the effects of the more direct rays of sunshine during the seasons of the year are important in forming climatic regions, you are ready to apply that knowledge to explain climatic patterns

The Earth is in an orbit that is nearly circular around the Sun. It takes a year for the Earth to complete one orbit. In March and September the Sun's heat and light rays strike the equator directly and are not inclined at an angle. This is why it is so hot in countries near the equator. At the North and South Poles, the rays from the Sun skim across the Earth at a very small angle; hardly any heat hits the Earth in these regions and that is why the Arctic and Antarctic regions are so cold. The N-S axis of the Earth is inclined at an angle of about 23 degrees to the Earth's orbit around the Sun. This means that there are a few months of the year when the North Pole is inclined towards the Sun. The Sun shines down on the northern Earth for many hours of the day and it is summer. Of course, the southern Earth is facing away from the Sun and it is winter there It is very difficult for young people to understand these ideas as they try to imagine why it gets so cold in winter and so hot in summer. When you tell them that the sun is actually closer to the earth in winter then it is in summer, they are even more confused

You work at the science center in your city. You are expecting an elementary school group to visit the center and you know they are interested in why we have four seasons.

Create models of Earth-Sun relationships to use with these students to show the importance of latitude on the Earth's climate regions. Show correct Earth-Sun relationships and the effects of more direct sunlight on the surface of Earth. Be sure your models are simple enough to appeal to elementary students, but detailed enough to be accurate. Prepare notes to go with the presentation of your models to answer the following questions:


Make your presentation to the group of students visiting the Science Center (your class).