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DIY Sundial


Make a sundial

A sundial used to be used to tell the time. The sun makes a shadow on the dial. As the sun moves through the day so does the shadow.

What you will need:

A direction compass (to find north and south)
A drawing compass (to draw a circle with)

What to do:

  1. Print out the template provided below and cut out the shapes. Sundial Template
  2. Draw round the shapes on card and cut them out.
  3. Fold out the two long straight flaps so that they are in opposite directions.
  4. Glue together the two triangles.
  5. Draw a semicircle on the cardboard base.
  6. In the centre of the semicircle, with the thin point of the triangle at the edge of the card, glue the sundial to the base.

How to use your sundial:

  1. Place your new sundial in the sunshine, making sure it is on something level.
  2. Turn the sundial until it is facing south, use your compass to do this part.
  3. Now you can use the sun to tell what the time is. Every hour mark the time and the position of the shadowing on the card. Don’t worry if you miss an hour, you can estimate where that hour is by seeing how far there is between the shadows of the other hours.
  4. Once you have marked down where all the daytime hours are, you will have a fully working sundial.

You will needa direction compass

Web page reproduced with the kind permission of the Met Office

Borrow an Instrument

Did you know the Royal Meteorological Society lends instruments to schools free of charge?

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