Sundial, science experiment for children

ByKarthik Kumar D Kon27th Aug 2023, 2023-08-27T10:55:00+05:30
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Sundial, science experiment for children

Title: Sundial - Exploring Time and Shadows Experiment

Objective: To construct a sundial and explore the concept of using shadows to measure time.


  • Paper plate or circular cardboard
  • Pencil or pen
  • Ruler
  • Small stick or dowel
  • Compass (or any circular object for tracing)
  • Clock or watch
  • Sunny outdoor location


  1. Begin by discussing the concept of a sundial with the children. Explain that sundials have been used for centuries to tell time by using the position and movement of the sun and the shadows it creates.
  2. Gather the materials required for constructing the sundial.
  3. Place the paper plate or circular cardboard on a flat surface.
  4. Use a compass or any circular object to trace a circle in the center of the plate. This will be the base for marking the hours.
  5. Mark the center of the circle as the reference point for the sundial.
  6. Use a ruler to draw a straight line from the reference point to the edge of the circle, passing through its center. This will serve as the noon line.
  7. Around the circle, evenly space and mark the hours, starting with 6 am at the left of the noon line, 12 pm (noon) on the line, and 6 pm on the right.
  8. Place the sundial in a sunny outdoor location, ensuring it is positioned horizontally and facing true north if possible. Use a compass or online tools to determine the correct orientation.
  9. Insert the stick or dowel upright at the center of the sundial, aligning it with the reference point.
  10. Observe the shadow cast by the stick or dowel. Note the position of the shadow's tip relative to the marked hours on the sundial.
  11. Use a clock or watch to determine the current time.
  12. Compare the time indicated by the clock or watch with the time indicated by the shadow on the sundial. Observe how the shadow moves throughout the day, allowing you to estimate the time based on its position relative to the marked hours.
  13. Repeat the observations at different times of the day to track the movement of the shadow and further understand the relationship between shadows and time.
  14. Reflect on the experiment and discuss the principles behind the sundial's functioning. Explain that the sun's position in the sky changes throughout the day, causing the shadow cast by the stick to move and indicate different times.

Safety Considerations:

  • Ensure the outdoor location chosen for the sundial is safe and suitable for children.

This experiment allows children to construct a sundial and explore the concept of using shadows to measure time. It promotes scientific observation, critical thinking, and an understanding of how ancient civilizations used sundials before the invention of clocks. Enjoy the experience of telling time using the power of the sun with this engaging experiment.

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