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Knows that because of the tilt of the Earth's axis, sunlight and, hence, heat fall more intensely on one part or another of the Earth during its one-year revolution around the Sun; the difference in heating of the Earth's surface produces the planet's seasons and weather patterns.

Why is Summer Hot?

It is quite common for people to believe that summer is warmer than winter,
basing the explanation on the belief that Earth is closer to the Sun during the
summer than in the winter. Even a sizable fraction of Harvard graduates carry
this belief (Schneps, 1987, mentioned in Green, 2003). In reality, this is exactly
opposite the situation in the northern hemisphere. The separation of Earth and
Sun is greatest at the beginning of July and least at the beginning of January.
More direct sunlight and the greater duration of daytime in summer months

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The Shadow of the Dog

The dogs I know like to be walked at least twice a day -- once in the morning, and once in the evening. But even though I'm the same person and it's the same dog in the morning and evening, our shadows change... In the morning, our shadows point in one direction. This is true regardless of which way we are facing. The shadows of trees, buildings, cars, fire hydrants, and blades of grass all point in the same direction as ours. In the evening, our shadows all point in approximately the opposite direction.

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The Cause of the Earth's Seasons

After an instructor-led discussion, students use a globe and a lamp to determine the cause of the Earth's seasons. This lesson attempts to correct the common misconception that the Earth is closer to the Sun during the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Sometimes, in order to correct science misconceptions, it is necessary to confront them head on. This lesson encourages students to voice this misconception at the beginning of the lesson and then attempts to correct it first, by exploring the reason for it, and then by presenting an alternate explanation.

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