IGG INVESTIGATE and EXPLORE: Choice Challenge 41

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Learn about the weather (make a sundial)


Paper Plate
sharpened pencil
push pin
plastic straw


Learn how people told time before the invention of watches and clocks by making a sun clock. Suitable for a pack holiday

Make a Sundial
• Use the pencil to poke a hole through the very centre of the paper plate.
• Write the number 12 on the edge of the plate with a crayon/marker.
• Using the ruler as a guide, draw a straight line from the number 12 to the hole in the centre of the plate.
• At noon, take the plate and the straw outside.
• Put the plate on the ground and poke the straw through the hole.
• Slant the straw toward the line you drew.
• Now carefully turn the plate so that the shadow of the straw falls along the line to the number 12.
• Fasten the plate to the ground with some pushpins.
• Ask the Brownies to predict where they think that the shadow of the straw will be pointing in one hour.
• One hour later, at one o'clock, check the position of the shadow along the edge of the plate and write the number 1 on that spot.
• Continue each hour predicting the position and then checking and marking the actual position and time on the edge of the plate.

At the end of the day the Brownies will have a sun dial . On the next sunny afternoon you will be able to tell time by watching where the shadow of the straw falls on the clock.

Note: Observation, prediction and communication are all very important science skills. This activity helps to develop them. Be sure to have the Brownies talk about why they think the shadow is moving.


  • choice challenge
  • experiment
  • IGG
  • out and about Pack
  • Pack Holiday
  • sundial
  • weather

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