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Suggested Activities

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Sun Shadow Project

            Below you will find a compilation of activities to compliment the measurements of the Sun Shadows Project: (Note: don't forget to remind students not to look directly at the sun for any activity.)
  1. Where's My Shadow: Best performed before the measurements or before the students develop a complete understanding of what the measurements show. It is a fun activity when played at different times of the day.
  2. Solar Dome: A brilliant activity to replicate the path of the sun through the sky. I suggest doing this activity around the equinox and again at the solstice to demonstrate how the sun takes different paths through the sky. The activity suggests using the bottom of a plasic bottle for a dome. Here in Pennsylvania, at least, plastic bottles no longer have the dome under a removable plastic base. This activity can probably be created with a glass bowl and wax pencil.
  3. What's Your Slant?: An idea to make hourly sun shadow measurements in a permanent manner. Note to Southern Hemisphere participants: This activity has a Northern Hemisphere bias. Can you determine what it is?
  4. Shadow Re-Creations: Use the international data to make a visible model of measured shadows.
  5. Graph Shadow Data: Turn the numerical data of the measurement tables into visual displays to help in making conclusions. This activity is especially useful when to compare and contrast the three mearements (two equinoxes and solstice).
  6. What is an equinox?: Use the data from the measurement table for either equinox to find out what defines an equinox.
  7. Sun/Earth Model: This is another activity that is great to try after each set of measurements (September, December, March). Use the data in the charts to determine how the earth is oriented toward the sun and what shadows would look like in locations not represented in this project.
  8. What Direction Does the Earth Rotate?: By fifth grade most everyone knows that the Earth rotates once daily. However, which direction does it rotate?]
  9. What's Your Angle? Use shadow data to find sun angles. There is a special activity listed here where you can actually figure out your latitude at the equinox by calculating the angles of a triangle!
  10. From Shadows to Measuring Tall Buildings! Use your shadow measuring talents to measure tall buildings and other objects.