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Sunday, March 16, 2014

March Equinox

Spring is coming to the northern hemisphere! As this two-minute video demonstrates, many people fail to understand why seasons occur. Let's take a look at some educational resources to help your students grasp the science behind the vernal (spring) equinox.


The equinox will occur on March 20th at 16:57 UTC. You can find some basic information (and the local time of this phenomenon) at timeanddate.com. For a more thorough explanation, go to Equal Day and Night - But Not Quite.

The equinox offers a perfect opportunity to explore latitude, longitude, and how the path of Earth around the sun creates seasons. Since my fourth graders already studied the autumnal equinox in September, we will simply review latitude and longitude and watch a five-minute video, The Changing Seasons. If you'd like complete lesson plans, try Tilting Into the Seasons by Deborah Cubillos. Scholastic also offers Internet Resources for Teaching the Vernal Equinox and Science Myth: Can You Balance an Egg on the Spring Equinox?

To see how sunlight is distributed across the globe on the vernal equinox, take a peek at the daylight clock offered by timeanddate.com. My students are mesmerized by this!

Welcome, Spring!