Teaching overview

Learning points

  • The December solstice is when the Sun is farthest south from the equator.
  • In the northern hemisphere the December solstice is the shortest day of the year, while in the southern hemisphere it is the longest.
  • In 2018 the solstice falls on December 21st.

Curriculum keywords

  • Earth
  • Sun
  • Light

5 things you didn't know

Solstice date

1.The December solstice usually falls on December 21st or 22nd but sometimes (although very rarely) it will fall on December 20th or 23rd.

The North Pole

2. On the date of the December solstice, the North Pole is tilted farthest away from the Sun.

The northern hemisphere

3. For countries in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice is the winter solstice, and marks the beginning of winter.

The southern hemisphere

4. For countries in the southern hemisphere, the December solstice is the summer solstice, and marks the beginning of summer.


5. Many civilisations built monuments to mark the solstice – one of the most famous examples is Stonehenge, England, which appears to have been built to align with the December solstice sunset.

Spark a discussion

  • What is a solstice?
  • How many times a year does a solstice happen?
  • Where is the Sun during the December solstice?

Explore our resources

Complete your lesson on the Sun and Earth with teaching resources from Tigtag.

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