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Remember, the relationship between the tilt of the Earth's axis and its yearly orbit around the sun produces the seasons.

Description: Your goal will be to use collected data and compare patterns of seasonal daylight changes.

Student Information: To solve problems scientists usually go through the same process. First, they develop a good answer to the problem they are working on (hypothesis), and then data needs to be collected in a controlled procedure or acquired from a reliable source. Data is often organized in a table or chart to aid in analysis of the information.

 

Procedure: Look closely at the data table below. It shows the rising and setting times of the sun in Salt Lake City. Details for this data can be found at the U.S. Naval Observatory. (You may use this site to create the data for almost any location in United States.)

 

Sunrise (p.m.)

Sunset (p.m.)

January

1

7:52

5:11

15

7:50

5:25

February

1

7:38

5:45

15

7:21

6:02

March

1

7:01

6:19

15

6:39

6:34

April

1

6:11

6:52

15

6:49

8:07

May

1

6:26

8:24

15

6:10

8:38

June

1

5:58

8:53

15

5:56

9:01

July

1

6:00

9:03

15

6:09

8:57

August

1

6:24

8:43

15

6:38

8:25

September

1

6:54

8:00

15

7:08

7:36

October

1

7:24

7:10

15

7:39

6:47

November

1

6:58

5:24

15

7:14

5:09

December

1

7:32

5:01

15

7:45

5:01

 

Analysis

  1. Explain the pattern of sunrise times during the year.
  2. Is the pattern the same for sunset times during the year?
  3. During which month is the number of daylight hours the longest?
  4. Use the data to make a line graph showing the changes in time of sunrise and sunset for the year. (Drag your mouse over the link to see an example of a line graph.)
  5. Which season has the greatest number of daylight hours?
  6. Which season has the lowest number of daylight hours?
 

Extension Activity:

When the sun is overhead and the rays are directly hitting the Earth, the energy reaching a given area is at the maximum. When it is low in the sky and the rays are slanted, this same amount of energy is spread out over a larger area. The angle at which the sun’s rays hit the Earth also causes a change in the number of daylight hours, which means the sun rises and sets at different times each day.

Image courtesy of NASA

 

Study the chart below to answer this question: What happens to the number of daylight hours through a year?

Day
Hours of daylight
January 22
9
February 22
10.5
March 22
12
April 22
13
May 22
14.5
June 22
16
July 22
14.5
August 22
13
September 22
12
October 22
10.5
November 22
9
December 22
8
 

Analysis:

Look closely at the graphs below. Which shows the correct pattern of change in daylight hours through the year? Click to check your answer.

 
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Earths_moon_image

seasons_image

solar_system_image size_motion_distance_image microorganism_image Heat_light_and_sound_image

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Teachers should view the Teacher Site Map to relate Sci-ber text and the USOE 6th grade science core.


Updated October 24, 2008 by: Glen Westbroek

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