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Observe changes in Earth's orbit that contribute to climate change
http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/visualizations/es1506/es1506page01.cfm?chapter_no=visualization

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.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 8 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 7 Cross Cutting Concepts

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
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.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

MS-ESS1.B1:The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons, and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them.

MS-ESS1.B2:This model of the solar system can explain eclipses of the sun and the moon. Earth’s spin axis is fixed in direction over the short-term but tilted relative to its orbit around the sun. The seasons are a result of that tilt and are caused by the differential intensity of sunlight on different areas of Earth across the year.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 8

Stability and Change, Patterns, Cause and effect

MS-C7.1: Explanations of stability and change in natural or designed systems can be constructed by examining the changes over time and forces at different scales, including the atomic scale.

MS-C7.2: Small changes in one part of a system might cause large changes in another part.

MS-C7.3:Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.

MS-C7.4:Systems in dynamic equilibrium are stable due to a balance of feedback mechanisms.

MS-C7:

MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS1.B1:Kepler’s laws describe common features of the motions of orbiting objects, including their elliptical paths around the sun. Orbits may change due to the gravitational effects from, or collisions with, other objects in the solar system.

HS-ESS1.B:

HS-ESS1.B2:Cyclical changes in the shape of Earth’s orbit around the sun, together with changes in the tilt of the planet’s axis of rotation, both occurring over hundreds of thousands of years, have altered the intensity and distribution of sunlight falling on the earth. These phenomena cause a cycle of ice ages and other gradual climate changes.

HS-ESS1.B:

Cross Cutting Concepts: 7

Patterns, Cause and effect, Stability and Change

HS-C1.5:Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C2.4:Changes in systems may have various causes that may not have equal effects.

HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.


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