Paper Plate Education
Activity: Altitude of the Noon Sun
The following text is excerpted from GLPA Proceedings, 1992, p. 81; used with permission:
1 plate per student, pencils, scissors
Observing and collecting data; Discovering the sun's pathway
Fold your plate in half. Cut
on the fold line.
Take one of the halves. Fold
it again making it look like 1/4 of a plate.
Do not cut! Do not fold the
Lay the first half in the sunlight with a the fold east and west and the
plate open to the south. [Assume
you have already talked about directions]
Unfold the plate until the shadow disappears.
Hold the second half of the plate with the flat part on the ground up to
the first so you can mark the angle of the first where the shadow disappeared. You should have a line on the second plate.
Write the time and date on the line.
Do this several times during a sunny day.
What happens and why?
Do this project again a month later.
Repeat it about once a month. Try
to predict what will happen. See if
your prediction is correct.
Contributed by Wayne James.
Another way to track the changing altitude and azimuth of the sun is to use the astrolabe-like device from Altitude Measurer.
Copyright ©2012 Chuck Bueter. All rights reserved.