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of Environmental Activities
of Phase III
of years man has utilized the sun to tell time, beginning with the simple
observation that shadows change both in direction and length throughout
the day. The rotation of the earth gives us day and night, and the movement
of the earth around the sun gives rise to our seasons. Mathematicians
in the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, and Egypt studied the behavior
of shadows and applied their knowledge to construct the earliest known
sundials. Until the 19th century, when clocks and watches became common,
sundials were the preferred method of telling time.
the benefits of installing a sundial on a school yard? Certainly there
are direct ties to curriculum learning (for example, Astronomy in Grade
6 Science, Light and Shadow in Grade 4 Science). But a sundial also provides
students with an interactive link to the natural world. In today's high-tech
society, our awareness of seasonal changes and the position of the sun
in the sky are no longer key to our survival. A sundial gives students
an opportunity to observe firsthand daily changes in our natural environment.
consists of two elements: a dial plane which is a flat surface marked
with the times of the day, and a gnomon, often a piece of metal which
casts a shadow onto the dial plane. A human sundial is unique in that
the gnomon is a person! When standing in the correct position, the person's
shadow will indicate the time.
sundial (more correctly called an analemmatic sundial) can
be installed on almost any concrete or asphalt surface in a schoolground.
The surface must be flat, approximately 5 metres by 5 metres in size,
and must receive direct sunlight during the hours of intended use. The
only other materials required are concrete paint, paint brushes, and a
template for positioning the times and standing positions.
of the Analemmatic Sundial
an Analemmatic Sundial