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What makes spring?
The vernal equinox!
Well, at least that’s the term for what’s happening as the Earth’s tilt and revolution around the sun change whether the Northern Hemisphere or the Southern Hemisphere gets the most sunlight. Earth and Sky explains it this way:
“The Earth-in-space view is that, because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but is instead tilted on its axis by 23 1/2 degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly as Earth orbits the sun.”
That means, for homeschoolers “down under” (for example, in Australia), the March 20 equinox signals the coming of autumn instead of spring.
Your younger kids might enjoy this SciShow video about the equinox. And this video shows you how you can make a model of how the seasons work with a globe and a light representing the sun. Older kids and teens might like more details about the equinox.
Most of our readers are about to celebrate spring, and where I live in Virginia, it can’t come a moment too soon. The winter has been wet, and cold with no in-person social opportunities.
So how about a mini-unit celebrating spring?
- Learn about the equinox
- Start some seeds
- Enjoy the season’s first picnic
- Create some spring art
- Explore Stonehenge and other astronomically-aligned ancient sites
You could even create a Signs of Spring Bingo Card or scavenger hunt with challenges to find:
- Bird songs
- Bird nest
- Flowers blooming
- Leaf buds on trees
- Seasonally active animals, such as rabbits and groundhogs
- Greening grass
- Farmers planting
- Bees and bugs
- Thawing ponds
- Thermometer readings above 50° F
If ever we needed spring, this is the year. Instead of the usual homeschool day on March 20, how about having some ceremonial barefoot time to kick off some love for Spring Equinox.
Celebrate the coming season, and treat the most intense case of spring fever we’ve had in years!