03 Jun Stem Challenge: Sundial Challenge
This month we are going to be learning all about the Sun! In this experiment, we will be learning about the movement of the sun by becoming a human sundial!
Visit our blog every Thursday to see our latest STEM challenge and share your creations on social media using #CMMSSTEMChallenge or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to submit your photos to us by Monday, June 7th!
What is a sundial?
Sundials are the oldest known instruments for telling time. The surface of a sundial has markings for each hour of daylight. As the Sun moves across the sky, another part of the sundial casts a shadow on these markings. The position of the shadow shows what time it is. In this experiment, you are going to act as the center point of the sundial and observe what happens to your shadow throughout the day.
- Observation sheet
- Sidewalk Chalk
- First, find a large area that stays sunny for much of the day (or at least 4 hours) and has a surface that can be written on with sidewalk chalk.
- It is important that you stand in the same place and face the same direction for each observation and shadow tracing. Once you have found your area, draw an X with the sidewalk chalk to mark where you will stand.
- Next, have a family member or friend trace your shadow with the sidewalk chalk. You can also take turns and have your helper stand on the X while you trace their shadow.
- Following your observation sheet, repeat the shadow tracings every hour for three hours. Remember to stand on the X facing the same direction each time!
- What is happening to your shadow? Can you predict where your shadow will be after the second observation?
Why is your shadow moving? Well, as the earth spins on its axis to make its way around the sun, the sun changes positions in the sky, and so we see the change of location of our shadow at different points in the day.