Making a Sundial
Paper plate | Straw |
Ruler | Tape | Marker | Watch or clock
Gardeners watch the sun, not
necessarily the clock. The location of the sun in the sky, and the effect of
the sunlight on the plants, is really important in gardening.
But you can keep track of the sun's
patterns AND the time, the way people have done for thousands of years. Make a
For this activity, you have to be
ready to go outside precisely at noon, and be free to go back outside at
exactly 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and so on, to mark the hours on your sundial "clock."
Gardeners might have to arrange to
return to your location at different hours of the morning and afternoon to
complete the clock, since your garden club meeting probably won't last 14 hours
Here's how to make a simple sundial:
Turn the paper plate upside down.
Use the ruler to find the center point - measure the plate in
several directions and mark a dot on the center point with the marker.
Use the ruler to draw a line halfway across the paper plate, from
one edge to the center.
Carefully poke a hole in the paper plate with one sharp end of the
Stick the straw through the hole.
Tilt the straw so that it is leaning over the line that you drew.
You may have to tape it so that it will stay tilted.
Tape the straw to the plate around the top of the hole, and along
the bottom of the plate, so that it will stay in place.
At noon, take the sundial outside and place it so that the shadow
of the straw falls directly on the line.
Tape the sundial to a flat area on the ground, using tape or a few
rocks so it won't blow away.
Mark the number "12" next to the line.
Come back out at exactly 1 p.m. and mark a "1" on the edge of the
plate where the shadow falls.
Continue on the hour through the rest of the afternoon, and the
It'll be interesting to watch how your sundial works as spring
moves into summer, and summer moves into fall.