Sunday, December 27, 2009

Seasons and More

Earlier last week was the winter solstice, or "first day of winter" and longest day of the year. We talked about how the days have been getting shorter and shorter little by little, but now they will start getting just a little bit longer and a little bit longer until the longest day of the year in June.

This is actually something that has been really close to Hunter because, not only does he notice that his daytime playing hours are certainly less than before, it is especially noticeable to him because of the time Brandon goes to work every day (4:30 pm). When we first got here, there were several hours from between the time Brandon left and the time it got dark, but now the sun is setting as he leaves.

Anyhow, we made a chart of the location of the earth in relation to the sun at the different seasons. I made the earth and sun pieces out of construction paper, and Hunter glued them together and glued them on the paper. He also cut out the sun, helped color the sun beams, and wrote the season words. We talked more about the opposites of summer and winter in the northern and southern hemispheres and why summer is summer and winter is winter (tilt of earth creating longer/shorter days as well as making us closer to / further from sun).

We also learned some words - summer and winter solstices (shortest and longest days of year) and vernal (spring) and autumnal (fall) equinoxes (equinox means "equal", where the day hours are as long as the night hours).

Later we'll talk about how on the equator it is always hot (they are always close to the sun) and that they always have equal nights and days.

I like making crafts like this because it's not only something that is a fun project and a fun lesson, but something that we'll use again and again. We'll refer to this often to talk about a lot of other things (like the north and south poles and the magnetism of the earth, how the earth rotates as well as spins counterclockwise, the gravitational pull of the sun, etc., etc., etc. It's fun to learn these things as we relate them to real life experiences, making it simple and interesting to understand.

I was going to hang it up in the school room, but Hunter protested, "No, I'd like to hang it up in my room."

"He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." 
Job 26:7
Hunter is 4 years, 9 months old 

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