Resource Type
Completion Time
Less than a week
High school and Up
Download, Share, and Remix
Clear plastic hemisphere model
External protractor for model
Dry erase markers – two different colors
General Earth Science
Water Cycle, Weather, and Climate


This lesson is a modification of what Dave Hess and I, Stan Skotnicki, use in our Earth Science classes at Cheektowaga Central High School. It is an extension of our lesson on Celestial Motions as we track the apparent path of the sun across the sky at different latitudes. Prior to this Lab activity they would have already created hemisphere models of 42 North (mid-latitudes) and at the Equator 0.

Working with Mike Loranty in Siberia during the summer of 2016 we experienced full sunlight for 24 hours and has been a topic of conversation in class, which inspired me to extend our Apparent Path of the Sun lab to include latitudes at the arctic circle.


Explain how latitude affects the seasonal path of the Sun.
During this lab activity, students will study the seasonal apparent path of the Sun above the Arctic Circle. Topics covered in this unit are coordinate location, insolation, celestial motions of Earth and the Sun, Seasons.

Lesson Preparation

Prior to this lesson, students would have learned about the general motions between the Sun and Earth in relation to each other. The Apparent Path that the sun takes across the sky. There are also two other hemisphere model labs that would have been done before this one, which are available on contact. The first model would have been created for 42 North and the other for the Equator at 0.


Complete procedures for the activity are listed on the worksheets of the Lab.


Additional hemisphere model labs have been created for 42 North and the Equator at 0. They can also be modified for any latitude desired.


For data at any latitude at any interval:

Can be modified for additional latitudes with data sets taken from

For an animation of the Apparent Path of the Sun at any Latitude:

Material Resources - Clear plastic hemisphere model:…


This activity will be assessed as part of New York States minimum lab requirement for Regents credit.

Author / Credits

Created by Stan Skotnicki (sskotnicki [at] and Dave Hess from Cheektowaga Central Schools

Standards Other

New York State

Physical Setting/Earth Science Core Curriculum

STANDARD 6 Interconnectedness: Common Themes MODELS:

Key Idea 2: Models are simplified representations of objects, structures, or systems used in analysis, explanation, interpretation, or design.


Key Idea 1: The Earth and celestial phenomena can be described by principles of relative motion and perspective

Major Understandings:
1.1a Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion. • These motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, seasons, phases of the moon, eclipses, and tides
1.1c Earth’s coordinate system of latitude and longitude, with the equator and prime meridian as reference lines, is based upon Earth’s rotation and our observation of the Sun and stars.

National Science Education Standards

Content Standards, Grades 9-12
Content Standard A: Science As Inquiry
Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science