Why Do We Have Seasons? - Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Cook

Jeremy taught elementary school for 18 years in in the United States and in Switzerland. He has a Masters in Education from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He's taught grades 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8. His strength is in educational content writing and technology in the classroom

Have you ever stepped out on a blazing hot day or walked through a snowstorm and wondered why we have seasons? Seasons on Earth are created by tilt and rotation and this lesson will help you learn why we have them. Updated: 04/24/2020

It's All About the Tilt

Have you ever looked at a globe? If you have, you may have noticed that the north and south poles don't point straight up and down. In fact, the whole globe is tilted. It's this tilt that is the main cause of the seasons. When a basketball player spins a ball on his finger, the ball spins around with the bottom pointing down and the top pointing up. The basketball player's finger is holding the ball in place.

The Earth has an imaginary finger that it spins around called the axis. The axis is the imaginary line that the Earth spins around. But unlike the basketball, the axis is not right at the bottom of the Earth. If the Earth was a clock face, the north pole would point toward 1 o'clock and the south pole would be pointing to 7 o'clock.

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  • 0:04 It's All About the Tilt
  • 0:53 Leaning Toward the Sun
  • 1:44 Earth in the Middle
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Leaning Toward the Sun

So now that you can imagine the Earth spinning at a tilt and not like a basketball on a finger, imagine that the Earth rotates around the sun in a giant circle called an orbit, kind of like a big fly buzzing around your head. The tilt of the Earth stays in the same direction, so when the Earth is to the far left of the sun, the North Pole is tilted towards the sun, so the northern half, or hemisphere, is having the warmest season called summer. Now, since the North Pole is tilted closer to the sun, the South Pole is tilted away, making it the coldest season, winter, there because the sun is farther away.

Six months later, the Earth will be to the far right of the sun so the North Pole will now be pointing away from the sun and having winter, and the South Pole will be pointing toward the sun and be in summer.

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