How does Earth's position in its orbit affect its seasons? What role does Earth's tilt have in affecting the length of day? In this activity students use a typical classroom globe and a light bulb to show how Earth travels around the sun in its orbit and why it has seasons. We’ll look at four different cities and see how their length of day changes based on the position of Earth in its orbit and whether it’s tilted toward or away from the sun.


Questions Addressed

❑ How does length of day depend on Earth's orbital position?

❑ Do long days equal hot temperatures on Earth?

❑ Which cities have the same length of day year round?


Concepts Addressed

♦  Earth’s orientation to the sun changes as it revolves in its orbit.

♦  Earth’s tilt produces seasons based on its position in its orbit.

♦  Earth’s tilt produces seasons based on its position in its orbit.

♦  Earth’s spherical shape produces cold poles and a warm equator.

♦  Earth’s orientation to the sun changes as it revolves in its orbit.


Standards Addressed




Materials Needed

clear, bright bulb in lamp; extension cord if needed, sticky notes; classroom globe(s); sticky notes, copies of regional animals (included, optional)


Preparation Required

Set up the lamp in the center of the room. Close blinds, etc Full darkness isn't necessary depending on how bright your bulb is.

Teaching Time 

This lab takes about 30 minutes (more with writing assignments)


Answer Key

Extensive teacher notes address the many questions that come up. You shouldn’t have to do outside research on this topic unless you want to. 


Student Sheets

• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting 

How Earth's Tilt and Orbital Position Affect its Temperature and Season


    Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

    Connect with me: If you have questions or problems, please let me know and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


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