Summer Lesson Plan

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

In this lesson plan, students will illustrate the movement of the Earth that creates summer in the two hemispheres. Through discussion and a writing assignment, they will deepen their understanding of this season.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the cause of summer
  • Describe how summer impacts animals and plants
  • Define axis, summer solstice, and equator


30-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.


Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).


With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)



  • Start the discussion with the question, ''When is summer?'' Students will most likely reply with the appropriate months (June, July and August). Discuss:
    • Could summer ever be in December?
    • Why does summer start in June?
  • Display the large image of the Earth orbiting the sun.
  • Review the concepts of Northern and Southern hemispheres.
  • Explain that today's lesson will show that, for some people, Christmas is in the middle of summer.


  • Hand out hard copies of the text lesson.
  • Ask for volunteers to read the ''Introduction'' and ''What Causes Summer?'' sections of the text lesson. Discuss:
    • Who can tell me what Earth's axis is? (Allow a volunteer to point out the axis on the large image.)
    • Can anyone explain the summer solstice?
    • Why did the text state that the summer solstice is in June in the Northern Hemisphere? If summer is beginning in the Northern Hemisphere, what is beginning in the Southern Hemisphere?
    • What is an equator?
  • Ask a volunteer to point the flashlight at the globe as you move the globe to illustrate the movement implied in the image. Make sure to point out the direction of the tilt of the axis, the equator and the hemispheres as you orbit the globe around the flashlight. Ask students to focus on:
    • The amount of light hitting the North Pole when the axis is tilted toward the sun (flashlight)
    • The angle of the globe when the light hits the South Pole
    • The amount of light hitting the equator while the orbit occurs
  • Explain that when the sun's light hits the North Pole, it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Ask for volunteers to read the ''Summer Weather'' and ''Plants and Animals in the Summer'' sections of the text lesson. Discuss:
    • What do you think the weather is like at the equator? Is there much difference between summer and winter there? Why or why not?
    • Why is there more sunlight in the summer?
    • What other aspects of summer can you think of to add to this lesson?
  • Allow students time to review the text lesson and ask final questions before taking the quiz.
  • Hand out the lesson quiz. Go over each question and answer with the class after they have finished it.

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