Bill Nye Explains the Seasons

Kelly Wolfe
Type Category
Instructional Materials
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.



This video 4:45 video segment, of Bill Nye the Science Guy's full video call Bill Nye the Science Guy:  Earth's Season's, explains why earth has seasons.  Bill begins by activating students' prior knowledge about the seasons.  Then he uncovers the misconception that seasons change due to how close or far away earth is from the sun.  He explains how the Earth's tilt and the sun's light angle are responsible for Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.  His illustrations in the Consider the Following section of the video provide a fuller understanding of the reason for the seasons and more importantly for this 1st grade Disciplinary Core Idea, the amount of Sunlight in the summer as compared to the winter is different.

Please be aware that there is an advertisement that loads before the video segment.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Elementary School
  • Grade 1
Access Restrictions

Limited free access - Some material is available for viewing and/or downloading but most material tends to be accessible through other means.

Performance Expectations

1-ESS1-2 Make observations at different times of year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on relative comparisons of the amount of daylight in the winter to the amount in the spring or fall.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to relative amounts of daylight, not quantifying the hours or time of daylight.

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

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The students will need to make observations about the length of day and night in the area that they live throughout the year. Data should be collected in the same manner and at the same time of day. As the observations are analyzed by the class, questions will arise. When comparison and cause and effect questions or wonderings arise the class will benefit from viewing this video. The Performance Expectation will not be reached by just viewing this video and some of the information in the video goes beyond the scope of this Performance expectation. The teacher should have the students share what they know about how daylight and time of year are related before and after the movie. Be prepared to support the student learnings with a cause and effect anchor chart. It is suggested that the teacher allow students to participate in the Consider the Following activities shown in the video.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The student must combine the first-hand observations, which have been collected throughout the year and his/her understandings from the video with the goal of constructing an evidence-based account of the natural phenomena of daylight and night throughout the year to master this intended Practice.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The video segment describes the Core ideas. It activates student prior knowledge about why we have daylight and nightlight and then expands that knowledge to the seasonal patterns of sunrise and sunset.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The teacher can support the understanding of the Crosscutting Concept by accompanying the video with instructional supports. For example, the students would need to make predictions about what they expect the causal mechanism might be and how they would find out, making observations of daylight and night throughout the year, and even thinking about these observations across latitudes and across hemispheres.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This video, used as part of yearlong observations of daylight, demonstrates a strong alignment with the intent of the NGSS and three dimensional learning. Collection of daylight observations at other latitudes or in the opposite hemisphere would also support the learning.

  • Instructional Supports: The video provides scientifically accurate information and is developmentally appropriate for the intended audience. It is not part of a lesson. The teacher would need to use best teaching practices that engage the students in understanding the scenarios of the video and how they reflect the phenomenon as experienced in the real world and provide students with an understanding of the phenomena. Student learning would be enhanced if the student was able to do the activities modeled in the Considering the Following section of the video. Students could take notes and share them with the class. Understandings can be added to an anchor chart and posted in the room. Students can draw pictures including captions that describe the illustrated phenomena. They could also develop dramatic play or songs that communicate an explanation or account of the phenomenon.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This video can be used with whole group, small group, or individual class interactions, which would provide the teacher with formative and summative assessment opportunities of student understandings of the Disciplinary Core Idea. The teacher can support differentiated instruction for their students by providing graphic organizers, which would promote the student's ability to to notice the patterns of daylight over time and graphic organizers that help the student to make comparisons of daylight over time.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The video segment quality is strong and scientific information is accurate. The video segment is part of a DVD called Bill Nye the Science Guy: Earth's Seasons.