February 22, 2016

Next month, spring arrives in Earth’s northern hemisphere, and with it days grow longer, temperatures warm, clocks spring forward, and new growth appears on trees and lawns. Use these and other seasonal events to build connections between everyday life and the concepts students learn during the school day. Find a quick introduction to this idea of “complementing versus replicating” by watching this video in Aligning With the School Day.

Thinking about the seasons, for example, where might you make connections to big ideas in learning standards? Start with Earth’s northern hemisphere, and consider how it differs from the southern hemisphere. There’s geography to consider, and astronomy, too; both offer a range of possible explorations, depending on student interests and grade levels.

Whether you serve elementary, middle or high school students, seasonal events present intriguing opportunities for exploration. More questions that might deserve exploration are these:

- Why do we adjust clocks forward and back in the spring and fall? Does everyone in the world do that?
- Why are there different time zones, and where does the “first” one start? How do time zones affect the way we do things?

The historical and cultural origins of seasonal practices and celebrations can be great jumping off points for engaging families and learning about other cultures.

- Are traditional practices different in countries where it’s warm all year than in countries that have distinct seasons?
- Now that some traditions and celebrations have been shared among many cultures, we may not see big differences from place to place and country to country — what has caused this “homogenization” and how does it change the way people from different places interact with one another?