Energy Flow Investigation 7-1:

Pencil Model of Sunlight Beams


To see why the height of the Sun in the sky makes a difference in how warm it is, take three sharpened pencils, and lay them on the picture above, pointing towards the Earth. The pencils represent three beams of solar energy. When they strike the Earth near the equator they concentrate the energy on a small area of ground. When they strike the Earth near the poles, they hit at an angle, so the energy is spread out over a large area. Try it! Compare how the Sun warms all of the various regions of the Earth, including the region where you live.