“Hey kids, how did people tell time before smart phones?”
“That’s easy Mom, watches.”
“How did they tell time before we had watches?”
I love the idea of building a working sundial in this digital age we live in. It gives you a chance to have a conversation about the things we take for granted every day. So, showing a child that you can accurately tell time with the sun is a pretty neat project. The best part is that it’s also incredibly easy to do. So how do you build a sundial? All you have to do is print out this Northern Hemisphere Sundial and put it together. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere use this one.
The next thing you need to do is figure out the latitude of your city. It’s simple, just Google the name of your city + latitude longitude. The first number is your latitude, and will tell you where to fold and tape the paper on the sides.
Now head outside and show them how people used to tell time with the sun! Just point the pencil North (your smartphone has a compass on it if you need one).
Another interesting thing happening here is that you’ll see how you can figure out the time with just a compass or vice versa. If you had only a wristwatch you’d be able to figure out which way north is.
Bonus points: If your kids are a little older and don’t seem impressed, tell them that they are currently spinning 1000 miles per hour on the surface of the earth, and that the earth is hurling through space at 67,000 miles per hour. Mind blown…