Why we have Seasons and Solstices

Why we have Seasons and Solstices
December 21, 2016 No Comments Teaching Ideas montessorisoul

Learning about Seasons and Solstices

We were discussing that today is the shortest day and what that means.  This lead to us doing lots of experiments about the planet earth and how it goes round the sun.  How this creates the seasons and longer and shorter days.

We started reading the book: Christmas a very Peculiar History. #affiliate link to amazon.

We only got this book yesterday but we are really enjoying it.  It has lots of interesting facts about Christmas and its history and has sparked lots of great discussion.

Why do we have seasons?

To look at this we first created mini planet earths using polystyrene balls.

Seb added some great details including the deserts in yellow and the great barrier reef in light blue because it is shallow!

We then used these Earth’s to go round the sun (a lamp).  We made sure that the earth always stayed tilted in the same direction by pointing the axis (skewer) at a light switch on the wall!

We also watched a great video on Youtube :  https://youtu.be/l64YwNl1wr0?list=PL_xJbWq4gkTAI9eWuKrPGiJgQ8GEjlllo

From this we could see that when the top of the planet earth (Northern Hemisphere) is pointing towards the sun we have our summer, but the bottom of the earth has winter.

We also noticed that when the earth moves round into the Spring and Autumn positions they have similar amounts of light.



Why is Summer hotter and Winter colder?

When the days are longer the weather is naturally warmer as it is exposed to the sun for longer.  But we also have to think about the power of the sun.  In the summer the sun is high in the sky and points straight down on the earth so it lands in a more concentrated area.  We demonstrated this with a torch and the Seb drew round the light.

When the sun is lower in the sky its light lands on the earth at an angle and therefore it is spread over a larger area.

This means that it is less powerful.  We then demonstrated this using jam!!

We started with two identical servings of jam.  One was spread on a biscuit, to represent the small area that the light lands on in summer. The other pot was spread on toast to represent the larger area that the light lands on in winter – when the sun is lower.


We tasted both and discussed how the same amount of jam was spread out further on the toast and therefore less strong.

Here is an illustration to help explain it.

Why is the sun hotter in summer

See my other resources linked to seasons here:


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As always we hope you enjoy this too!  If you have any questions or feedback please email me info@montessorisoul.com .

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Jo @ MontessoriSoul


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