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Use the shadows of the sun to tell the time

Suitable For

Grade 5



Time Required

 <2 Days



What’s it about?

Since the ancient times people needed to be able to tell time, but it was not as convenient to tell the time back then as it is with today’s technology. The earliest known device for telling the time is an Egyptian shadow clock, which dates back to the 8th century BC.

A ‘shadow clock’ consists of a straight base with a raised crosspiece at one end. Make your own ‘shadow clock’ to tell the time with the sun in this science experiment:

Topics covered

Time, Shadow clock

What will I need?


Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In the above science experiment we have built a time indicating device or ‘shadow clock’. This works because of the fact that shadows change direction, depending upon the time of day. The position of the sun, in relation to a specific location on earth, changes throughout the day as the earth rotates around its own axis every 24 hours.

A ‘Shadow clock’ like this one uses a shadow’s position to tell the time. The position and length of a shadow depends on the time of day, but it also depends on the season of the year. That’s because the sun’s position at a certain time of day is different in different seasons.

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