Games and quizzes, in the Kids zone! at National Museums Liverpool - nuggets of knowledge for your noggin
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what causes the seasons
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Things To Do At Home

There are three activities for you to try. Click on one of these options to begin.

Make your own sundial

This is how to make your very own - very simple - sundial. Sundials don't work unless it is sunny so you should wait until the next good day. It takes a while to set-up your sundial so you might want to do this over a weekend or a holiday.

First, you need to collect the items you will need.

This is what you do:Sundial made from a cup

This is a very simple sundial. You can learn a lot more about how sundials are created in the 'Links' section of this site.

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These are very simple experiments you can try at home that may help you to understand how the Earth moves around the Sun. You will need a dark room to represent space, a lamp to represent the Sun and something like a tennis ball or an orange to represent the Earth.

Exploring Day & Night

First hold your ball level with the lamp. Notice how one side of the ball is lit (day) while the other side is in darkness (night). Try sticking a drawing pin into the ball to mark a particular place on Earth then spin the ball around an imaginary axis. You can see how your place has periods of day and night time as the Earth spins.

Now look at the Poles. While there is no tilt both Poles have periods of day and night.

Exploring the Tilt

Carry on spinning the Earth but try tilting the top of it towards the Sun (by about 45°).

Notice how the Northern Hemisphere is directed towards the sun. This is the hemisphere that would be experiencing summer.

Notice how most of the Earth still has day and night periods but that the Poles are different. Even though you are spinning the Earth the North Pole has light all the time while the South Pole stays in darkness. If you look back to the SunTracker in the Seasons in Other Countries section of this site you will see how the Sun would really look in the sky if you were at one of the Poles.

Creating the Seasons

While still spinning your ball walk round to the other side of lamp. This is like the Earth orbiting the Sun. Keep the Earth tilted in the same direction all the time. Once you get to the other side of the Sun notice which hemisphere is now tilted towards the Sun: it is the Southern Hemisphere.

This hemisphere is now experiencing Summer while the Northern Hemisphere is having winter. The Southern Pole has light all the time while the Northern Hemisphere is in permanent darkness.

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