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Seasonal Gizmos

Two new Grade 3-5 Gizmos will help you and your students understand why winter is cold and summer is warm.

The first, called Heat Absorption, explores the heating of materials through radiation of light from a very powerful flashlight. Students will see that light is much more concentrated (and therefore much more powerful) when it is vertical than when it strikes at a low angle. This relates to seasons because sunlight is much more direct in summer than in winter. Students can also use this Gizmo to explore how different colors of light interact with various colored objects.

Seasonal changes are further explored in the Summer and Winter Gizmo. In this Gizmo, students can directly compare the angle of sunlight, day length, and temperature on June 21 and December 21 for any location. They will see that during winter days are shorter and sunlight is much less direct than during summer. They will also see that southern hemisphere seasons are opposite those of the northern hemisphere. In Australia, summer is just about to begin!

This would be a great Gizmo to present to your class on the solstice next Friday, December 21!