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Item WC034002: It is colder in the winter at a given place than in the summer because sunlight reaches that place at a smaller angle in the winter.

A student lives in a town where the summers are very warm and the winters are very cold. Why is it colder in the winter than in the summer?

  1. Because sunlight is cooled by the cold air in the winter.
  2. Because sunlight reaches the town at a smaller angle in the winter.
  3. Because sunlight has to pass through more clouds to get to the town in the winter.
  4. Because sunlight has to travel a much longer distance to get to the town in the winter.
Distribution of Responses
Chart showing distrubtion of responses for Item WC034002
Students Responding Correctly
Group Correct Total Percent
Overall 1242 3041 41%
  6–8 775 1889 41%
  9–12 466 1148 41%
Primary Language

View data table

NRC Framework
ESS1.B …the intensity of sunlight falling on a given location on the planet’s surface changes as it orbits around the sun. Earth’s spin axis is tilted relative to the plane of its orbit, and the seasons are a result of that tilt.
See also Practice 6: Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: ...evaluate…explanations for consistency with the evidence (Framework, chapter 3, p. 69).