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:
Day Length Graph by Owen
    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.
Day Length Graph by Thomas
    Thomas 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.
     Special 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.
     I 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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