Grasping winter is not easy, but with a globe and a flashlight, most of my lambs "get it," at least for a few minutes, and if nothing else, they know we are not colder because our planet drifted too far from the sun.
If I ask the usual questions, I get the usual answers, and everyone's happy. The kids are happy because good things happen when they say the right things, I'm happy because I get to use a kinesthetic exercise (looks good on the lesson plans and gets the kids out of their seats), and administration is happy because my kids are more likely to pass the HSPA.
Still, I have a bad habit of peeking under the hood even when the car's running just fine.
So I peeked....
I love the Naval Oceanography Portal--it's like my beloved Old Farmer's Almanac on testosterone.
The shortest day of the year (here, anyway) was yesterday.
The latest sunrise won't happen until early January.
The earliest sunset occurred weeks ago.
In the olden days, long before I was born, noon meant the time of day when the sun was highest in your town. That it no longer means that surprises people.
A day used to mean what a solar day still does--the time it takes the Earth to spin so that the sun appears to return back to a particular position.* A day now means 24 hours. Not the same thing.
No big deal if it's the 16th century, the daylight hours are brief, and you want to meet on the Town Green at noon. Clocks killed our connection to the sun.
If you do not grasp this, you do not "get" time--and most folks don't.
The sunsets have been later and later for two weeks now, and the dawn continues come later, as it will for another week. The state won't test that, though. Sad thing is, few folks notice. We are teaching young adults concepts before we teach them how to see.
*Since the Earth has the habit of orbiting the sun in an elliptical orbit, and moves faster through its orbit when closest to the sun (and right now we're almost as close as we're going to get for the year), winter solar days are longer than summer days.