## Key Idea: The maximum height that the sun reaches in the sky at any place varies over the course of the year, and how it varies depends on how far the place is from the tropical region.

Students are expected to know that:

1. From any place on earth, the maximum height that the sun reaches in the sky above that place during a day gradually rises and falls during a year. The maximum height of the sun during a day at any place north of the tropical region is highest in late June (beginning of summer) and is lowest in late December (beginning of winter). The maximum height of the sun during a day at any place south of the tropical region is highest in late December (beginning of summer) and is lowest in late June (beginning of winter).
2. The maximum height of the sun above places north of the tropical region decreases a little each day from late June to late December, and then increases from late December to late June. The maximum height of the sun above places south of the tropical region decreases a little each day from late December to late June and then increases from late June to late December.
3. The maximum height that the sun reaches during a day is the same at all places that are the same distance from the equator, but it varies for places that are different distances from the equator, such that for any given day, the maximum height of the sun in the sky decreases the farther the place is north or south of the tropical region.
4. How much the maximum height that the sun reaches during a day varies over a year differs in different places. The maximum height changes very little at the tropical region, and the farther a place is from the tropical region, the more the maximum height that the sun reaches in the sky during a day increases from winter to summer and decreases from summer to winter.
5. The higher the sun gets in the sky above any given place, the larger the angle is between the sunlight and the surface of the earth, and the more intense the sunlight is when it hits that place.
6. The greater the intensity of the sunlight, the more energy the sunlight transfers to that place in a given time.
7. Because the amount of energy sunlight can transfer to a place depends on the maximum height that the sun reaches in the sky above that place, sunlight transfers the most energy (intensity of the sunlight is greatest) during a day at the beginning of summer than during a day at the beginning of winter. The amount of energy sunlight transfers to a place over a day decreases a little bit each day from the beginning of summer to the beginning of winter, and increases a little bit each day from the beginning of winter to the beginning of summer.

Percent of students answering correctly (click on the item ID number to view the item and additional data)
Item ID
Number
6–8
9–12
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Frequency of selecting a misconception

Misconception
ID Number

Student Misconception

6–8

9–12

CLM004

The highest point the sun reaches in the sky does not change throughout the year (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

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CLM003

The maximum height the sun reaches in the sky on any given day is the same everywhere on earth (AAAS Project 2061, n.d.).

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Frequency of selecting a misconception was calculated by dividing the total number of times a misconception was chosen by the number of times it could have been chosen, averaged over the number of students answering the questions within this particular idea.

NGSS Statements

Code

Statement

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year.

ESS1.A MS

Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.