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Database Provider


PBS Kids


K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Mathematics

Resource Type

  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus




Here Comes the Sun!

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  • In this activity, students will build a sun dial to track shadows and tell time. 
  • Students will learn that they can use the sundial to find out which direction is north by looking at the sun's shadow at noon.  
Teaching Tips


  • This activity allows students to investigate topics in science, such as the earth's rotation, and in math, such as telling time. 
  • This hands-on activity can be scaled up or down in difficulty depending on the students' age and skill level.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers will need paper plates or construction paper, cardboard pieces, a large bowl, clay or putty, clear tape, a watch, a compass, a ruler, and writing utensils to complete the activity.
  • This activity is weather-dependent and requires a sunny day.


  • After completing the activity, try challenging students to use their sundials to tell time for a day instead of using watches. 
  • Discuss with students why the shadow changes throughout the day. Why does it look like the sun is moving across the sky? Is it actually moving?
  • Related resources include this video about Earth's rotation and revolution and this coloring activity about planet Earth. 
Scientist Notes
The activity provides a practical way to create a sundial from everyday materials. This is insightful and ideal for the classroom.
  • Mathematics
    • Geometric Reasoning and Measurement (K-12)
      • 1.GM.C.6 Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.
  • Science
    • ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe
      • 1.ESS1.1 Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.
      • 5.ESS1.2 Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.
  • Related Resources


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