Seasons – A Primary School Guide

by Abigail Read

Across the UK, the sights and smells of summer have approached us! But why has it got warmer here, while in Australia, for example, it’s currently winter? This week we investigate what the seasons are, with a little activity for primary school pupils to try.

The four seasons:

Spring: March, April and May

Summer: June, July and August

Autumn: September, October and November

Winter: December, January and February

 

What causes Seasons?

The earth is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees in relation to the sun.

This mean that in the UK Summer the northern Hemisphere or top end of Earth is tilted towards the sun. The Sun’s rays are therefore more intense in the Northern Hemisphere making it warmer. At the same time, in the Southern Hemisphere the Sun’s rays are more spread out and it is colder.

You can try this out for yourself using a ball and a torch. Mark an area on the ball somewhere near the top (to represent the UK. Shine the torch at the ball and vary the tilt of the ball. You should see the torch spot looks bigger or smaller depending on the angle the ball is tilted at. The bigger the spot the less intense the light is in your marked area, the smaller the spot the brighter it will appear, as it is more intense. When the part of the Earth we live on gets hit by more intense light from the Sun we feel warmer!

 

Spring

On the first day of spring there are as many daylight hours as hours of darkness, in both the southern and northern hemisphere. From this point on, we receive more and more hours of daylight as the sun rises earlier in the morning.

  • Spring is the wettest and windiest season. The warm air starts to rise up from the south and the cold air starts to push down from the north creating unpredictable air pressures.

    Lambs born in the Spring (Photo: Rainer Halamer, C-BY)

    Lamb born in the Spring. Tasty. (Photo: Rainer Halamer, CC-BY)

  • Many trees start to bud and regrow their leaves.
  • Spring is the best time to grow new crops. The wet weather and long amounts of sunshine are ideal for seed germination.
  • Birds start to build nests, ready to lay their eggs.are born. Spring is the best time of year to give younganimals the best chance to survive. The warmer spring and summer provide easier temperatures to live in than in autumn, plus there is more food available.

 

Summer

Summer has the longest and warmest days due to the long hours of sunlight.

  • Crops grow best in this season as there are more hours of sunlight and higher temperatures.
Flowers fill the garden in Summer (Photo: Public Domain)

Flowers fill the garden in summer (Photo: Public Domain)

  • Trees are at their biggest with the largest volume (amount of leaves).
  • Worker bees are very busy during the summer season. Within the hive there can be 60,000 to 80,000 worker bees, but they only live for around 6 weeks. This is very different to the winter months where there are few bees which live much longer.
  • Lots of flowering plants are in bloom, which attract a high number of pollinating insects and birds.
  • There is a large supply of food available for mammals and other animals.

 

Autumn

Autumn is when the earth begins to tilt away from the sun, leading to cooler temperatures and changes in our environment.

Pumpkins (and other crops) are ready to harvest in the Autumn (Photo: Nicole Gordine, CC-BY)

Pumpkins (and other crops) are ready to harvest in the Autumn (Photo: Nicole Gordine, CC-BY)

  • Plants stop producing fruit and most crops are ready to harvest.
  • Many animals start to grow thicker coats to protect them from winter.
  • Many animals start to store food in nest and dens or in their body as fat.
  • Tree leaves start to change colour and wilt (shrivel up)
  • Some animals get ready to hibernate

 

Winter

Winter is the coldest season and has the shortest days, as the earth is tilted furthest away from the sun and receives less energy from the sunlight.

Many trees loose their leaves in Winter to cope with the chill (Photo: Albert Herring, CC-BY)

Many trees loose their leaves in Winter to cope with the chill (Photo: Albert Herring, CC-BY)

  • The cold weather can cause snow, sleet, ice and wind chills
  • Deciduous trees stop growing and shed any remaining leaves
  • Some animal hibernate to survive the cold weather
  • There are only 20,000 to 30,000 Working bees in a hive, but they can live for up to 4 months during Winter.


 

7 Key Facts:

1) The earth orbits around the sun.

2) The North pole points at an angle relative to the sun, rather than straight up.

3) The angle light from the sun hits the earth affects its temperature and climate.

4) The hottest month in UK is… July!

5) The coldest month in UK is… February!

6) The wettest month in UK is… October!

7) The driest month in the UK is… May!

 

Well, that’s all for our primary schools blog on the seasons. Enjoy the sunshine and watching nature grow!

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Posted in Biology, Primary