Lesson 9: Tracking the Sun with the Sundial

Maureen Dooley, B.S.Ed.

Copyright 2004. Permission is granted for classroom use and for non-commercial educational purposes.

Subject __________________________

Anticipatory Set (focus) - The student will be told to get out their sundials that they build in the previous lesson, or on the previous day.

Purpose (objective) - The students will be able to record the shadow made by the sundial at the start of class, during the class, and at the end of class and they will be able to simulate the movement of the sun's shadow, in the classroom, with a flashlight.

Input -The teacher will explain that they will be going outside to record the shadow made by the sundial. They should be told to bring their sundials, a piece of paper, and something to write with. The teacher will lead the students outside to begin recording the movement of the sun's shadow. The teacher will need to bring flashlights for the students to use while outside.

Modeling (show) - The teacher will lay their sundial on the ground and will show the students how the sun's shadow is cast on the paper. The teacher will re-explain that the sun's light is traveling in a straight line from the sun to the dial, and that the gnomon interrupts the light and casts a shadow on the paper. The teacher will explain that the students should lay their sundials down the same way they have done and they will record the shadow.

Guided Practice - The students will lay their sundials down as the teacher had done and they will record the shadow cast on the sundial. They will be told by the teacher that they will be making three measurements this class period. One measurement at the beginning of class, one in the middle of class and one at the end of class, just before they go back in to the school.
The teacher will also explain the he/she has brought flashlight for everyone and they can use the flashlights to simulate the movement of the light and experiment with what happens to the shadow on the sundial as the position of the flashlight is changed/moved. The shadow moves in the same way, whether the flashlight is moved past a stationary sundial, or the sundial is moved past a stationary flashlight.

Independent Practice - The students will record the shadow made at the beginning, middle and end of class. They will also experiment with the flashlights, what happens to the shadow as they move the flashlight.

Closure - (Tell or show me what you have learned) - At the end of class the teacher will lead the class back inside and will ask the students to tell him/her what their measurements were.