Sundials and The Four Directions
Children learn about the path of the sun through building a sundial! After finishing the project inside, we went outside and found North with a compass, and then used our sundials to find the time. Children then took turns being the four coordinates and the sun, while the remaining students were flowers, and they acted out the path of light over the course of the day.
Understand north, south, east, west in relation to the garden. Understand how plants grow differently in summer and winter, understand the path of the sun across the sky during the course of a day and how plants respond. Why beds are built from east to west instead of north to south. Practice using a compass. Think about a time before clocks and build a sundial, which helps make clear the path of the sun because you see the shadow it creates.
laminated pictures of N,S,E,W, sun and flowers, compass, sundial prototype and gnomon prototype, scissors, tape, cardboard or thick paper. Clipboards(optional)
photocopy sundial prototype, which can be found online, for each child, build a practice sundial for them to see, get pictures.
1. talk about a time before watches, how would you know the time?
2. build sundials! Have kids cut slit in the base, and then cut out the gnomon, which then is taped to the base. I used cardboard to keep it straight up, and then we taped cardboard to the bottom as well to keep it sturdy.
3. go to the garden, helper of the day finds north, everyone points their sundial.
4. now that we know north, find E, W, S and give 4 people those cards to stand there. Someone who is the sun will begin at E and run towards W. they run in winter because the sun is in the sky for less time, and they walk for summer. The rest of the students, who are flowers, slowly grow and follow the path of the sun and then go back to sleep at night. Take turns being the sun.