Item WC033002: Sunlight feels warmer in the middle of the day than in the morning because the sun is higher in the sky in the middle of the day.

A student notices that sunlight feels warmer in the middle of the day than in the morning. She asks her friends why the sunlight feels warmer in the middle of the day, and she gets four different explanations. Which of the following explanations is TRUE?

  1. The sunlight is traveling a shorter distance in the middle of the day, and sunlight can warm things on the earth more when it does not travel as far.
  2. The sun itself is hotter in the middle of the day, and sunlight can warm things on the earth more when the sun is hotter.
  3. The sun is higher in the sky in the middle of the day, and sunlight can warm things on the earth more when the sun is higher in the sky.
  4. Clouds block some of the sunlight in the morning, and that is the only thing that would cause the sun to warm her more in the middle of the day than in the morning.

Distribution of Responses

Chart showing distrubtion of responses for Item WC033002

Percent of students responding correctly

Overall45%
Grades 6–844%
Grades 9–1247%
Male43%
Female48%
Primary Language is English46%
Primary Language is not English41%

View data table