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Observe changes in Earth's orbit that contribute to climate change

TERC, McDougall Littell

This animated visualization of precession, eccentricity, and obliquity is simple and straightforward, provides text explanations, and is a good starting place for those new to Milankovitch cycles.

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Great addition to lesson about Milankovitch cycles and orbital forcing.

About the Science

  • The orbital parameters that are responsible for the Milankovitch cycles are visualized in this animation.
  • The following resources are more advanced with more layers for exploration. These should be used after students have a basic understanding of the parameters.
  • The below link is for a more interactive explanation of the orbital parameters of Earth, and other planets: http://www.sciencecourseware.org/eec/GlobalWarming/Tutorials/Milankovitch/
  • Use the below Applet for investigation of the cycles overlapped with temperature data. This is good to use after the students understand the basic principles of the cycles. http://itg1.meteor.wisc.edu/wxwise/climate/earthorbit.html
  • Comments from expert scientist: Very good overall, but it is not clear where they got the data from.

About the Pedagogy

  • Animation illustrates complex concepts and will help students understand these orbital parameters. Images are sized somewhat small. Accompanying text is concise and helpful.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Animations are small and need to be projected for use in a classroom.

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