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Project for Kids
simple outdoor project to do with your kids as the weather improves.
Not only is it fun, it is very educational.
This project will demonstrate how the sun moves east
to west through the day, and how its height changes with the seasons.
you will need...
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to make your sundial...
- a watch or a clock
- an open area of lawn (ideally at least 6m x 1.5m
(20' x 5') for the sundial to work between 10 AM and 5 PM)
- stones (size is up to you) or other markers, 16 for
hours between sunrise and sunset in June
- a shadow-caster, your child
an alternative to the above, you can use chalk in your driveway, or a
sheet of paper and a small stick, etc.
- head outside and place two stones to mark the spot
for the shadow-caster to stand
- have the shadow-caster stand facing north (roughly)
with their toes just touching the two stones
- wait for the top of an hour (e.g. 8, 9, 10, etc.) and place
a stone at the tip of
- repeat Step 3 each hour on the hour (See
Figures below to see how your sundial will look when done.)
- if you like, paint the hour number on each stone
animation is provided below the Figures showing how your
shadow will move
during the day.
- Since the sun runs slightly ahead of or behind your
watch time, depending on the time of year, you may want to adjust your
sundial every couple of weeks or so. Simple fix, move the
stones to match your watch.
- Probably more noticable than the sundial running fast
or slow, the shadows will begin to get shorter as we approach the
summer solstice (June 20 in 2020). Again, you can simply move
the stones to match your watch.
- If you like, gather up more stones and add another
row next month (preferably on the same day of the month), and
month after that, etc. In this way, you can see how much
higher the sun gets between now and the first day of summer.
- After the first day of summer, you will notice the
shadows getting longer again.
R. Bouwmeester & Associates
Barrie, Ontario Canada
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