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Last updated: 01 August 2005 1258 BST
Grap: Make a sundial and go back in time!
Pic: Sundial
Sundials were used to tell the time before people had watches or clocks

With the sun shining it's the perfect time to make a sun dial.

Follow our easy instructions and find out what life was like before we had watches and clocks!

Unlike today when we have watches and clocks, telling the time a few hundred years ago was pretty difficult.

So a sundial was made which helped to tell the time from the shadow made by the Sun.

An easy way you can make a sundial is to place a stick, cane or thin piece of wood into your garden (make sure its not in the shade)!

Every day at the same time push a peg into the ground where the shadow of the stick ends. Does it stay in the same place or does it move?

Discuss this with your science teacher when you get back to school and see if you can find out what it means.

Use our templates to make your sundial - you can print them out. Print the sundial base and the gnomon here.
After you've printed it, close the box

You will need:
A pair of scissors
A compass
Some sellotape
A craft knife
A print-out of the two sundial templates

Place the main sheet on a hard surface and using the craft knife, cut down the line that says 'cut here' (ask an adult to help you).
Using the scissors, carefully cut out the template for the gnomon, the triangle shape.
Once you have done that, fold it along the line.
Now place the gnomon inside the slit of the sundial template. You must make sure the right-angle is at the bottom of the sundial template (see picture).

Read more instructions for your sun dial »

A word of warning: NEVER look directly at the Sun, with or without telescopes. It is very dangerous.


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See also

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Astronomy index

Ask the astronomer

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Make a rocket

Make a sundial

New Planet

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Planet Mars

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Planets Pluto, Neptune and Uranus

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The Star of Bethlehem

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Venus passes in front of the Sun


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Norwich Astronomical Society

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