Day Length Through the Year
A daytime astronomy activities for kids:
Create a graph of the length of the day through the year, by
plotting the time of sunrise and sunset for each month. Notice the
really long days of summer, the short days of winter, and also how
quickly the day length changes in the Spring and Fall.
Here are two samples created by our day care children, Owen and Thomas:
Owen decorated his graph with a big "Happy New Year" in
January, an umbrella for April, flowers for May, a cake for his
birthday, fireworks, and more. Owen's graph was displayed for a
long time on the front door of the day care, so the lines on the graph
paper have faded, but the graph itself remains.
also decorated his graph with events through the year: a snowman
and sled for January and February, his Birthday in February, melting
icicles in March, and Easter Egg, and many more. Notice the big sun to
mark the Summer Solstice, around June 20th, the longest day of the year.
This graph was also on our front door for a long time, so the lines from the graph paper have faded away.
The sunrise and sunset information is for the Minneapolis area and comes from our wonderful local Weather Guide Calender.
If you are far to the south or north of Minneapolis, you will need to
find a different source for your data, because your graph will be a
little different from ours.
Moving east or west of Minneapolis
will not matter. A graph of day length for Boston, Paris, or Beijing
will look about the same as ours.
graph paper: I tried several types of graph paper, with various
lines, and only found one that I liked. This is the rare and hard to
find metric graph paper marked with centimeters and millimeters. This
paper nicely allows me to plot the time of day on both sides of the graph, from 3:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and the months of the year on the top and bottom, January through December and back to January again.
have found this centimeter and millimeter graph paper on the Internet
and also at the University of Minnesota book stores.
Rev. 1, 05-16-2010
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