The Earth rotates on a 23-degree axis, so it is shining more directly on areas near the Equator than near the places that spend half the year tilted away from the sun, like the North and South Poles.
Did you learn something reading that? Maybe. Did you have fun? Probably not. So Science teacher Deb Kalivoda injected collaboration, activities and interaction to engage students and give them a greater understanding of climate.
“Did you know that during Christmas time there are places with palm trees where it’s warm? Why are some places always hot?” Mrs. Kalivoda asked Miss Waldron’s 3rd grade class at Weeks Elementary. The questions gave the students a mystery to solve.
Kalivoda split the students into three groups: the Americas, Europe and Africa, and Asia and Australia. She had the students look for temperature and climate patterns, and color-code their regions accordingly.
Once the three groups combined their work into a full view of the globe, the pattern became obvious to the students.
“It’s red near the center and more blue other places,” said Savannah Phillips.
“The sun faces the middle of the earth where it’s really hotter. It’s not as hot in Cairo and it’s really cold in Iceland,” said Carl Fitch.
“There are tropical, polar, temperate, mild and desert climates. Each climate occurs in a specific part of the world,” said Mrs. Kalivoda.
To help explain why specific areas experience certain temperatures depending on the time of year, Kalivoda had one student stand and serve as the Sun. Another student stood and acted like the Earth. This is how she explained the concept of the Earth rotating on its axis while making a revolution around the Sun.
“Students recognize climate across the world as an observable pattern,” said Mrs. Kalivoda.
A pattern the students hopefully understand better by discovering it themselves.