Teacher knowledge matters

Filling the pail

In my experience, most people think they know the cause of the seasons, but a lot of them are wrong. Some think the Earth is closer to the Sun in summer, but this cannot be true because otherwise we could not have summer on one point of the Earth at the same time as winter on a different point. Some think that particular parts of the Earth are closer to the Sun in summer, making them warmer, but this again is incorrect. The distance between the Earth and the Sun is far larger than any small variations in how the Earth is aligned.

The actual cause of the seasons involves abstract thinking. In the winter, the tilt of the Earth is such that the Sun’s energy is shared over a much larger area of the Earth’s surface than in the summer.

Why does this matter? Because highly intelligent adults often…

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