The bright spring sunshine and low sun is a great opportunity to design and build sundials in your school grounds. The lesson plan below outlines how to do this in creative and interesting ways.
Overview of the Activity
To create a simple device on the ground capable of measuring time using the sun and its shadow effect.
Large stake or post, mallet, spirit level, rope/twine and pegs, card or laminated sheets for marking the parts of the sundial.
Find a large open space of level ground (preferably grass) that will receive sunlight for most or all of the day. Spend time in class discussing the position and movement of the sun according to time of day, time of year and our location on the earth.
Have pupils plan out their approach beforehand.
Classroom Resources (General)
Design & Technology
Discuss what the most complex elements of the activity were.
Compare the times recorded with accurate chronological times.
Discuss next steps for the exercise and if the pupils would like to create a more permanent version in the school grounds.
Visit other sites where sundials have been created. Try constructing a selection using different methods (including portable versions) that can be created indoors and brought outside.