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Different Sky View at the Same Time

One photo was taken at the Highland Elementary School in Waterloo, Iowa during the day on their playground. The other photo was taken at the same exact moment, however, the location of this picture was located in Cork, Ireland. The sky looks different depending on the location of the viewer on Earth. As Earth completes the 24 hour rotation, various parts of the Earth receive sunlight or darkness. When a particular location is at a point in the rotation where it receives darkness, it is nighttime and when it receives sunlight, it is daytime. If there were two points on opposite sides of the Earth, one receives light and the other receives darkness.

Highland Elementary in Waterloo, Iowa, 2:33 pm; Cork, Ireland at 2:33pm Iowa time or 8:33 Ireland time. Both of these photos were taken Monday, February

Driving Question

Why does the sky look different in Iowa than in Ireland at the exact same moment in time?

Probing Questions

  • When it is nighttime in Iowa, what does the sky look like in Ireland?
  • When shining a flashlight at Iowa on the globe, what do you notice about the light in Ireland?

Classroom Activities

Students could:

  • Using a globe and flashlight, Identify Iowa and Ireland and then spin the globe while pointing the flashlight to simulate night and day.
  • Compare and contrast observations about the two pictures of skies.
  • Ask students if they have family members or friends that live in a different area of the United States or world than where they live. See if they can ask them to send a picture of the sky and make observations on what is the same and what is different.


Iowa Core Alignment


Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted

Credit Info

Submitted by Carlee Patterson and Dani Grady. 

Photo credit: Maura Levi

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