Days and Seasons
When the nights are longer than the days, the season is winter.

Days and Seasons

This KS2 Science quiz explores how the Earth's orbit of the Sun and its rotation on its axis create our years, seasons and days.

Days, seasons and years are all based on how the Earth moves through space. It orbits the Sun once every year and at different times some parts are pointing away from the Sun (winter) whilst others are pointing towards it (summer). The Earth also spins on its axis once every day so one half is in shadow (night) whilst the other half receives the light of the Sun. Many people enjoy the beauty of sunrise and sunset and the changing seasons without ever thinking of how they are caused. You will know from science lessons that the Sun does not really 'rise' or 'set' in the sky. It appears that the Sun orbits the earth but it's actually the other way round.

Test your knowledge of how days, seasons and years are caused, by playing this Science quiz.

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  1. Which of the following causes the seasons to change?
    The Earth's tilt on its axis means that as the Earth orbits the Sun, the amount of sunlight received by each hemisphere changes, causing the changing seasons. The equator, however, always receives 12 hours of sunlight each day and does not experience changing seasons (although it does experience changing weather)
  2. The Earth is divided into its northern and southern hemispheres by what?
    The Equator is an imaginary line which goes around the Earth's middle
  3. What causes day and night?
    The Earth rotates on its axis. When part of the Earth is facing away from the Sun, it is dark because it cannot receive any sunlight. As the Earth rotates, that part gradually turns to face the Sun (we call this moment 'sunrise') and it becomes day
  4. If it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, what season is it in the Southern Hemisphere?
    When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere
  5. How long does it take the Earth to rotate once on its axis?
    When our part of the Earth is pointing towards the Sun it is daytime and when we are pointing away from the Sun it is night
  6. In which season are the nights much longer than the days?
    In summer the days are much longer than the nights. In autumn and spring the days and nights are roughly the same length
  7. How long does it take the Earth to orbit the Sun?
    When our part of the Earth is tilted towards the Sun it is summer and when we are tilted away from the Sun it is winter
  8. On two days each year, the Earth receives equal amounts of daylight and darkness. What are these days called?
    In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring (vernal) equinox is around the 21st of March and the autumnal equinox is around the 21st of September
  9. When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, which pole is tilted towards the Sun?
    When the North Pole is tilted towards the Sun the South Pole is tilted away from it
  10. Why does the South Pole receive no sunlight during its winter?
    When the Southern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, the South Pole is in darkness for 24 hours every day, while the North Pole (which is tilted towards the Sun at the same time) receives 24 hours of sunlight every day

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