I Can See and Feel the Changes in the Seasons

Julie Cook, Teresa Hislop, Elasha Morgan
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Lesson/Lesson Plan
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



Students use their senses to investigate changes in the seasons by making observations in nature. They collect data by drawing, writing, and or labeling their observations to compare how sunlight affects themselves and objects as the seasons change.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

K-PS3-1 Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.

Clarification Statement: Examples of Earth’s surface could include sand, soil, rocks, and water

Assessment Boundary: Assessment of temperature is limited to relative measures such as warmer/cooler.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
During a school year students are going outside to make observations about how the sun affects objects, themselves, and causes seasonal changes on Earth. They draw pictures, write about, and label their observations to collect data. They will go out several times during the year to make observations. At the end of the year students could make a booklet to take home and share with their family using the pages completed during each observation.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students share their pictures, drawings, and writing with other classmates and the teacher each time they go outside to make observations. The teacher could guide the discussions about the data to include how they feel when they are in the sun or the shade during each observation (cold, cool, hot, warm) and why they feel that way.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The students make observations using their senses about how they feel when they are directly in the sun or in the shade. They are also using objects to explore how they feel when in the sun or shade. The correlation between how they or the objects feel in sun or shade in relation to the sun warming Earth's surface may need to be explained to students if they do not make that connection on their own.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
After making several observations during the school year, students will have data to compare how objects or themselves felt when they were in the sun or shade. This should lead to showing a pattern that more sun will make them warmer than less sun. Have each student do an entry in their science journals to discuss and show understanding about this concept.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Students are using the three dimensions of NGSS to to make sense of the phenomena of the sun warming Earth's surface. There are extensions listed at the end of the lesson to do and they should be done to further student knowledge of this concept. When doing the first extension listed students could use thermometers to keep the temperature of the water they are observing to see what happens when it is left in the sun or shade for an hour.

  • Instructional Supports: Students are engaged as they are making observations and keeping data. The lesson provides opportunities for students to express, clarify, justify, interpret, and represent their ideas and to respond to peer and teacher feedback orally and/or in written form as appropriate. Students could work in small groups or partners when doing the observations and collect data.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There is no formal evaluation of this lesson. There is formative assessment when the teacher asks questions after the observations are done. The students' clipboard papers also offer a way to assess each child's observation skills, drawing and writing skills, and ability to note changes in the seasons.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: No computer technology is needed for this lesson.