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Time and Seasons Science Projects

This article contains many ideas for science projects on day and night, time, and the seasons. The time and seasons science projects are categorized by grade levels (1st-4th grade, 5th-8th grade, and 9th-12 grade) and may be modified. Science Projects for Day and Night, Time, Seasons

Here are some ideas for science projects that assist students in learning about day and night, time, and the seasons, along with some tips. Feel free to adapt project ideas to fit your curriculum and child, including adapting a project to a higher or lower grade range. Also, consider doing a project several times over the course of a child’s education, varying it as appropriate for his or her development, skills, and understanding.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grade

Tips: Choose projects that rely on simple observation or the use of simple tools. For projects that take place over time, help students keep track of their observations. A calendar or photograph album may help with this.

  • In spring, plant a row of seeds and peg black plastic over a portion of the row. Check periodically to compare seed development with and without light.
  • Leave various materials in the sun. Observe temperature changes.
  • Observe animal behavior periodically throughout a day and into the evening. Do this in different seasons.
  • Observe your own response to the cycle of light and darkness. When do you wake up (without an alarm)? When do you begin to feel sleepy?
  • Choose a deciduous tree. Record its appearance once a week for a year.
  • Choose a perennial flower. Record its appearance once a week for a year.
  • Try to guess various lengths of time, checking on a stopwatch if possible.
  • Follow a sun cast shadow through a day and into the evening.
  • Start an indoor plant from seed, place pot away from sunlight, but in a room in which sunlight is available, and do not turn the pot. Observe results.
  • Compare an evergreen and a deciduous tree over the course of a year.
  • Choose photographs from the family photo album to illustrate the four seasons.

5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade

Tips: Students at this level will vary in how much support and assistance they will need. Judge by the child and the project.

  • Try to find or create a situation in which you can fry an egg using heat from the sun on outdoor surfaces. Define what is necessary to make it work every time.
  • Make a model showing how seasonal changes have meaning for animals: show migration, hibernation, birth/hatching of young, etc.
  • Make a model showing how seasonal changes have meaning for plants: show dormancy, flowering, fruiting, etc.
  • Compare how animals and plants adapt to cold, heat, bright light, darkness. Consider not only patterns of day and night and the seasons, but also locations in the world in which cold, heat, dark, or light are constants, or present for long periods.
  • Model the Earth’s rotation.
  • Follow the relationship of weather and the seasons in your own location and in three other places with markedly different latitudes. Chart or graph the results.
  • Find a chart showing the growing season for different parts of the US. Find your location. Analyze the results in terms of possibilities for local food production.
  • Build a sunlight monitor and chart the results.
  • Build a sundial and check its accuracy.
  • Develop a test to discover if light exposure effects food spoilage.

9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Grade

Tips: At this level, most students should be able to do projects on their own and maintain commitment across time. For long-term projects, set-up check-in times.

  • Create a system for yourself to be able to tell time by the sun’s location in the sky. Describe it.
  • Compare and contrast different calendar systems that have been used. Figure out the current year, month, and day in the various systems.
  • Consider time from the perspective of an animal with a very short life-cycle, like a butterfly. Write an autobiography.
  • Consider time from the perspective of a mountain range or volcano. Write an autobiography.
  • Create a model of an animal’s life cycle.
  • Create a model of a plant’s life cycle.
  • Compare the characteristics of sunlight and various forms of artificial light.
  • Analyze the elements necessary for a rainbow to appear (use a garden hose with a spray attachment for experimentation).
  • Develop a test to rate sunscreens on their UV protection.
  • Develop an experiment to determine whether wearing sunscreen after sunset has any effect.


Sunlight Monitor Instructions -