Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer Shadow Fun-Homemade Sundials!

sundial b
I like to do themes for each week during summer.  This week has been Sun week.  We made a few different sundials and then watched them for two days.  The first one is out of a plate and straw.  This was a quick and easy way each child could have their own! 

Choose a sunny location to place your plates!  Make sure to draw registration marks, so that you can always reset your plate if it moves around.  Another tip is to make sure one of the registration marks is different from the others.  My 4th one is a v, as seen at the top of the plate. 

We marked the time every hour, on the first day.  When we marked, we made sure to draw how long the shadow is.  This is helpful when you are discussing it. 

The next day we went out and checked to see if our marks were the same. 

Make sure to draw a line guessing where the line will be, at a given time.  It’s always fun to see where your guesses end up.
sundial a
Here was another variation of our sundial.  This one was a lot bigger, just for fun.  I used a foam half dome as my center and stuck a long (14 inch long) paint brush in it.  I used a large trash can to trace a large circle on the ground.  Doing a large sundial is a lot of fun because the length of the shadow is exaggerated, compared with the smaller plate sundials.  The kids really notice the difference in the shadow length on this sundial.

If I had more space, another great sundial would be to trace your child’s feet and use them as the dial.  On each hour, trace their shadow!  They would love seeing their own shadow grow and shrink! 

Make sure to ask your kids questions before and during this experiment.  Then recap afterword.  Some questions are what direction will the shadows move?  Why do they move?  Why is the length different?  Where do you think the shadow will be at _______ time?  Why is it the same from one day to the next?  Would it be the same, 6 months from now?  Then, get into discussing shadows, the earth, sun, and moon! 

We are joining the following linky parties ABC and 123Someday Crafts,


CitricSugar said...

What a fun way to learn! I really like the idea of "theme" weeks, too. You are certainly keeping busy this summer!

Unknown said...

This is great, I always need a little help when it comes to more science based activities. I just don't naturally think of them. But this looks very doable and simple to make and do. I think even my soon to be four year old would understand and get the concept. Plus she'd have fun seeing how the sun moved.

Good Life 2 Go said...

It's another great idea from you. Thanks for sharing. said...

Summer must be so much fun at your house. I love the theme idea! Thanks so much for the project, I'll be linking.

Katie said...

I love this idea. My 6 year old is quite a scientific thinker and would love figuring out the changes in the sun from one day to the next using this suggestion. Thanks for linking to ABC this week!

Anonymous said...

What a great project! Never thought of making one. Now if we ever, ever, ever see the sun again in the PNW I will follow your lead!

Anonymous said...

What a great project! Never thought of making one. Now if we ever, ever, ever see the sun again in the PNW I will follow you lead!

Sallinger said...

Love the idea of using the kids' feet/shadows...definitely going to use that!