# Seasons Webquest (NGSS Aligned) MS-ESS1-1

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This engaging, exciting, and rigorous webquest can be completed individually, with partners, or in groups. The purpose of this webquest is for students to learn how the tilt of the Earth’s axis, combined with Earth’s orbit, causes seasons. This activity guides students through exploring information, examples, videos, and interactives about Earth’s seasons. As the final task, students write a Claim, Evidence, Reasoning paragraph using the information they have gathered.

NGSS Aligned

MS-ESS1-1 Earth's Place in the Universe Students who demonstrate understanding can:
MS-ESS1-1. Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons. [Clarification Statement: Examples of models can be physical, graphical, or conceptual.]

The performance expectation above was developed using the following elements from the NRC document A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Science and Engineering Practices Developing and Using Models Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to developing, using, and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems.
Develop and use a model to describe phenomena.
Disciplinary Core Ideas ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars
Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.
ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System
This model of the solar system can explain eclipses of the sun and the moon. Earth’s spin axis is fixed in direction over the short-term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The seasons are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.
Crosscutting Concepts Patterns
Patterns can be used to identify cause-and-effect relationships.
- Connections to Nature of Science Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
Science assumes that objects and events in natural systems occur in consistent patterns that are understandable through measurement and observation.

Activity Focuses on Season Evidence Statements:
iii. Seasons:
1. Because the Earth’s axis is tilted, the most direct and intense solar energy occurs over the summer months, and the least direct and intense solar energy occurs over the winter months.
2. The change in season at a given place on Earth is directly related to the orientation of the tilted Earth and the position of Earth in its orbit around the sun because of the change in the directness and intensity of the solar energy at that place over the course of the year.
a. Summer occurs in the Northern Hemisphere at times in the Earth’s orbit when the northern axis of Earth is tilted toward the sun. Summer occurs in the Southern Hemisphere at times in the Earth’s orbit when the southern axis of Earth is tilted toward the sun.
b. Winter occurs in the Northern Hemisphere at times in the Earth’s orbit when the northern axis of Earth is tilted away from the sun. Summer occurs in the Southern Hemisphere at times in the Earth’s orbit when the southern axis of Earth is tilted away from the sun.

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Total Pages
21 pages
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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