Arctic circle Lesson plans

My lesson looks at the effects Earth’s axial tilt has on the planetary and local scales.

My lesson plan integrates cultural standards D and E. Specifically D2 and E1 and E3.

Curriculum standard D. 2. engages students in the construction of new knowledge and understandings that contribute to an ever-expanding view of the world.

In the lesson plan the students contemplate the effects of a different axial tilt of the earth. They are challenged to use the knowledge the have and make hypotheses.

Curriculum standard E. 1. encourages students to consider the inter-relationship between their local circumstances and the global community;

3. prepares students to “think globally, act locally.”

In this unit the students discuss the global causes of seasons and relate them to the local level. They also touch on the possible effects changes at the global level will have on their town.

Here are the links to my lessons.

IBook Section

Teacher section

Word.doc it has all the same info as the Ibook but isn’t as well organized

11 thoughts on “Arctic circle Lesson plans”

  1. I really like this lesson. Simple, but important and full of information, thinking and as you put it “thinking globally, acting locally.” I also really like that you said your students will utilize the iBook! That is something I didn’t even think about to put into my own lesson! What a great resource we STARTED– and what a good place for students to go for some of their information.

    The terms you plan on talking about are all very important– and the need for discussion around them and some ‘definitions’ is important. And, that some people may fit the description of a few of these terms.

  2. Good stuff, Luke, Obi-Wan was correct when he said, “the Force is strong with this one.” Sorry, pal, for the Star War’s reference. Nope, not sorry.

    Seriously, I love the lesson plan of breaking down the the tilt of the Earth tied in with the seasons. It is something that I often think about living in Alaska where we can feel the effects and visually witness how we rotate on star-ship-planet-earth around the sun all the while maintaining the tilt angle. Such relatively simple geometry and physics have everything to do with how the world’s weather and seasons operate and shape the earth. Nice tie with what’s happening in our backyard with this tilt to give the students relavent background knowledge. You have awoken my inner science geek. May the force be with you!

  3. So one of the things I really like about this lesson is that I have no idea what the answers might be. Obviously, I haven’t been in science classes for 15 years, but I guess I never stopped to ask myself “what forces cause the earth to tilt relative to the sun” and “how does this create seasons.” I mean, the fact that the earth does tilt relative to the sun means I knew why days and nights change in length, and seasons are an obvious spinoff of that. But to actually hear it explained scientifically sounds really fascinating. I don’t think I’d mind sitting in on that class myself!

  4. Jimmy –

    I really appreciated reading your lesson. My lesson is on comparing oral traditions across cultures. Your lesson gave me insight into the heart of Native oral traditions. The information that you presented would be a perfect segway into my lesson because it would really give students a clear picture of the culture and the part that these stories played in transmitting that culture. I think this lesson is going to play out very well in the classroom. Good work Jimmy!

  5. Luke – A very well organized lesson. I like the hands on engagement with the activity -figuring out how much further the world would have to tilt to be in the arctic circle. I also like how you close the lesson by extending their thinking beyond the science and math asking them to consider the impacts on the environment and their way of living. Great Job!

  6. I like that you take something most people take for granted, like the seasons, and create a series of lessons connecting science and math to not only teach how the seasons work but have the students figure out a way to demonstrate, or reconstruct, this. I fear this lesson is a bit beyond my mathematical abilities, but I think you broke it down into steps that I could handle if I was in a group with a few other, more confident, scientists.

  7. Great plan Luke,
    Never too early to address the other aspects of the Milankovitch cycles though. Seasons are an easy lead into climate variation (ie. climate change) especially if you are asking your students to hypothesize about tilt variation anyway.

    The Serbian scientists don’t get enough credit.

  8. Luke, I’ve enjoyed this eye-opening lesson since you introduced it in our group. I’m definitely the type of person that is going to have to see it, so I appreciated all your visual tools (hints) and incorporating that into the lesson. And I think you underplayed the reference to how a culture would change if a town ended up in the Arctic Circle, or moved anywhere different, it really put it into perspective for me. Job well done.

  9. This is a great way for kids to understand light mechanics on earth. So many people don’t realize that it is the tilt of the earth that makes the seasons. This project will drive it home without any doubt. Furthermore, I think kids won’t forget after this lesson!

  10. Luke-this is such an awesome lesson. I’m glad I was in your group so you had a chance to walk me through the lesson! But I also wish I could be a student in your classroom on this one too. Thank you for your heard work on this–it really shows and I think your students will really enjoy this one!

  11. What a great lesson! This is one where I really wish I could be in the classroom and do the activity. As someone upthread said, seasons are something we all kind of take for granted, and I think I assumed I understood all about the Earth’s tilt – but in fact I’ve always had trouble visualizing how it works, and I’d learn a lot from a hands-on activity like this. I love the creative aspect of it too. This lesson really has something for every kind of learner.

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