These sites have information about the winter solstice – the first day of astronomical winter. Students can learn how the Earth’s tilt and orbital motion influence the length of days and nights. Students can also find the history of pagan and Christian traditions and rituals of celebration that day. The sites include photographs, schematics, animation, and eThemes Resource on Winter, Summer Solstice, and Seasons.
Windows to the Universe: The Winter Solstice
Learn what astronomers know about the winter solstice. Select Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced versions of this page. Click on the image to enlarge it.
PBS Kids: Arthur: Sue Ellen's Scrapbook
Follow Sue Ellen's story and learn about the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and its celebration.
FactMonster: Winter Solstice
Find out when winter and summer solstice occur in the Northern Hemisphere. NOTE: The site includes pop-up and banner ads.
National Geographic: Cause for Celebration
Learn what happens in the Southern Hemisphere while the Northern Hemisphere experiences winter solstice. NOTE: The site includes ads. NOTE: The reading level is for older students.
National Geographic: A Reason for the Season
In this activity, students can learn the science behind the seasons. Read the article and then try the interactive quiz.
Starman: Winter Solstice
Learn about the winter solstice by reading this comic strip.
Chart of Equinox, Solstice and Cross-Quarter Moments
Select a year from 2000 to 2010 and learn how long the day and short night will be during the winter solstice. Follow links at the top to view animation of the Earth ecliptic orbit and countdown to upcoming solstices.
Enchanted Learning: Earth's Seasons
This page has a diagram showing the seasons, axis tilt, equinoxes, and summer and winter solstices.
Winter Solstice Sunrise
This site is dedicated to one of the oldest architectural monuments: the Newgrange Megalithic Passage Tomb in Ireland. Click on photographs to enlarged images of several winter solstices at Newgrange. NOTE: The site contains ads and has a link to a web ring.
Winter Solstice Traditions
The article on this page tells about pagan traditions that surrounded the winter solstice in old Europe and how they transformed into Christian celebrations.
eThemes Resource: Seasons: Winter
These sites include activities, games, and information about winter. There are interactive games in which you can build a snowman or make a snowflake. There is information about winter sports and how animals deal with the winter cold. Included are links to eTheme resources on snowflakes and frost, seasons, and various winter holidays.
eThemes Resource: Seasons
These websites are about the earth's seasons and why they occur. There are animations, worksheets, interactive quizzes, and lesson plans. One site allows you to send seasonal e-Cards to your friends. Includes links to eThemes on winter, spring, summer, and autumn.
eThemes Resource: Summer Solstice
Learn about the longest day and the shortest night on Earth - the summer solstice. Find how the planet's tilt and orbital rotation creates these days and nights. Learn about Stonehenge and how ancient people and various cultures recognized and celebrated the summer solstice. The sites include photographs, animations, a webquest, and hands-on activities as well as the eThemes Resource on summer.
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