Last summer Travis helped make two DIY versions of a sundial, but he was really too young to understand how we were tracking the sun. This year, he was ready, and our model a bit more precise!
First, he traced a circle on a piece of sturdy poster board.
Cut out and find the exact center of your poster board by measuring halfway lengthwise and crosswise.
We used a dowel as our centerpiece, and used clay to hold it in place; Travis pressed down the clay, and then made sure the dowel was nice and secure.
We headed out the next morning as soon as sunlight hit the patio, and I showed Travis how to trace a straight line along a ruler following the dowel’s shadow.
I pointed out how looong the shadow was this time of day, too, and challenged him to notice how that would change as the day went on.
We missed a few morning hours because we were out and about! But by 1 p.m. we were steadily marking on the hour. As we had guessed, the dowel’s shadow was much shorter in the middle of the afternoon, then began to lengthen again.
After 5, we lost our sunlight on the patio!
So now it was time to head inside and decorate the sundial. Dot markers were the perfect tool for the job!
Travis loved the way it looked and now has a neat visual of the sun’s path across the sky each day.