Seasons in the Hemispheres

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This very simply lesson from Raddish Kids was informative, though it lacked the “wow” factor of other lessons from the company. Still, Travis was intrigued and stuck with it from start to finish.

First, I asked him to name the four seasons. Chart your child’s answers, and then make a list of different aspects of the seasons. Travis came up with things like: cold versus hot; snow versus sun; and different colors, like white versus green.

Now time for a little lesson; the world is divided into northern and southern hemispheres, separated by an imaginary line called the Equator. When it it is summer in the north, it is winter in the south, and vice versa.

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To illustrate this point in a tangible way, draw a line around an orange. We labeled the top N and the bottom S. I had him point out where we lived, and we drew a simple outline for North America. An outline of Argentina, where our recipes came from, went into the south.

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Spear the orange with a chopstick from “north pole to south pole” to show Earth’s axis. Now hold up a soccer ball as your sun. As you rotate the “Earth” around at a slight tilt (fun fact, Earth’s axis is tilted 23.5 degrees), your child will start to see why sometimes it is summer and sometimes winter.

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We watched two suggested videos for a slightly more in depth explanation.

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Now it was time for Travis to plan his winter birthday party! As a summer baby, I had him imagine what it would be like to live in a southern continent. He decided it would be an ice party, where everyone drank hot cocoa and came in snow boots.

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If you really wanted to go all out for this lesson plan, you could recreate a mini birthday celebration of opposite seasons for your kids! At the very least, celebrate with some dulce de leche cookies.

Finally, we checked out the difference in temperature in the hemispheres today. Because it is fall/spring, the difference wasn’t thrillingly obvious. Older kids may want to pick a city in the opposite hemisphere and chart the differences in temp over a whole week.

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Solar Energy and Water

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This quick experiment seemed like a good way to illustrate the power of the sun for Travis, especially as he learns about how solar energy can power homes and more. Unfortunately our results weren’t spectacular, but perhaps you’ll have a more clear-cut outcome!

Set two cups of water on 2 pieces of paper, one white, and one black, somewhere that receives direct sunlight. Theoretically, the water on the black paper should warm up more quickly, as the black absorbs the sun’s heat, while the white reflects it.

Travis helped test this in two ways.

First, we tried ice cubes, expecting the one on the black paper’s water to melt faster.

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But oh no, our ice cubes might not have been the same size, because the white side melted more quickly!

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Next we tried a thermometer. We left the two cups of water to heat up in the sun for a few hours, then headed out with a thermometer to check.

Again, sadly, the results weren’t very pronounced. The black water might have been a degree or two warmer, but on our small dial, that was hard for Travis to appreciate.

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Either way, at least the experiment got him thinking, and he got a dose of science and a little sunshine in the morning!