homemade SUN dial

This week we are playing around with the sun.

what you need:  chalk ~ alarm clock (I’ll tell you why in a minute) ~ sunshine

I drew two circles in chalk, making sure they were pretty far apart and that there was a lot of room around both of them.

At 8:00 am we started our experiment.  I had the kids stand on their circle while I traced their shadow.  (Hubs was impressed with my tracing skills, I wonder if there is a future in shadow tracing!?!?)

Next to each shadow I wrote the time.  Then we went back to the business of playing until my alarm sounded again.  A couple of times I forgot to set the alarm.  Good thing Aunt L was here to remind us.

Big M was so excited about this activity.  He would come running to me every 15 minutes and shout.  “We need to do our sun report!!!”

Little M was a little less excited about the experiment and her sun dial is missing a few shadows.  The great thing about this is that it didn’t matter.  She was still able to learn something, and have fun with it.  The picture is of the very last marking.  Her shadow was so long that it went onto the grass (can you see the chalk, that is the tip of her shadow).

This is what our sun dial looked like at the end of the day.  I used a different colored chalk for each shadow (learned on the second shadow tracing that if you use the same color it’s hard to tell which is which.)

Questions (to ask your kids):  “What do you notice about this shadow compared to the last shadow?”  “How do you think the shadow will look the next time we come out?”  “Do you notice any other differences out here?”(Heat, ground temperature, etc).  “Where do you think the sun will be at 7:00 tonight?”

Tips (to maximize learning):  1.  This activity is the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids to the concept of an educated guess.  The first guess, is merely a guess.  By the middle of the day your little one should be able to take what they have learned so far and make an educated guess.  Because the activity lasts only one day, the results are quick!  2.  Try going out the next day and standing in the same spot at the same time.  What happens?  (We had no sun when we did it…which meant no shadow.  That led to a few more questions.)

How are you using the sun today?

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  1. What a great idea Jill! What kid doesn’t like playing with sidewalk chalk – now they get to learn something from it! Pinned this to try this school year.

  2. What a great idea & so much fun! I think I could do this with my class drawing lines instead of their shadows. Thanks for linking up.

  3. Pingback: Outdoor Play Roundup - May / Adventure Bugs

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