Sundial

Are you aware of how the sun moves across the sky every day? Making this simple sundial inspired in us all sorts of scientific observations!

  1. Ages: 3 - 8

  2. 2+ hours

  3. A little messy

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Mostly we used paper and a dowel for this. We opted for cardboard for our center... you could easily use a piece of dried clay, if you prefer.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    First Maddie decided how big her sundial should be, and she traced a circle onto the posterboard.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    We found the center by making folding the circle in half, length-wise, then across, and Maddie marked it.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Since we were using a stack of cardboard discs for the center, Madeleine traced then cut out a short pile of circles,

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    and she glued the stack together.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    We wanted a pretty covering, so we cut out a larger circle of paper, and then cut a fringe, so that we could wrap our paper stack in the pretty paper. The cardboard stack was put in the center of the circle, and the fringes folded up to enclose our stack.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Step 7

    We sharpened the ends of the dowel with a pencil sharpener (but not dangerously sharp), and poked one end into the stack of paper. We opted to glue the assembly lightly into place (to the paper), so we could have consistent recordings of the sun's passage.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

  • Step 8

    At every hour, from 10 until 5, we recorded the sun's position on our paper. Maddie found it easy and helpful to use a ruler to make straight, tidy lines. We noticed that some shadows were long, and some short. As we watched our clock being made, we also noted that a different place would have different records than ours! Our sundial wouldn't be exactly correct, somewhere else.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 8

  • Step 9

    When we had all our our lines marked, it was ready for decorating!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 9

  • Done!

    Then it was all finished-- it is definitely the brightest, prettiest clock we have!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 10

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