|Michael and the day care
children are sitting around our backyard analemma, an wonderful
astronomy project tracking the movement of the sun throughout the year.
The children at left are working on our analemma, marking the position of the sun, as shown by a shadow, on their playground.
Every week or two for two years, we have run outside at exactly the same time and used a black permanent marker to outline the shadow cast by a ring of metal. We use a small, battery-powered, radio-controlled clock, linked to the atomic clock in Denver, CO, to get the exact time, so that we can mark the shadow at precisely the middle of the day.
This is 12:00 noon Central Standard Time and 1:00 PM during Daylight Saving Time.
We set a small alarm clock to go off five minutes before 12:00. When the alarm goes off, the kids scream "Analemma" and go into action. One grabs the RC Clock, another gets a black permanent marker, and two more begin to sweep off the spot where we will mark the shadow.
This has been one our most successful astronomy activities. The children love it. They watch the shadow of the sun, and say things like "Look how fast it's moving!" Each child in her own way now understands that the sun is low in the wintertime and high in the summertime.
Definition of Analemma
If you are over the age of 40, you may remember seeing an elongated fugure 8 printed on any world globe.
For a more complete definition and explanation of the analemma, go to http://www.analemma.com.Return to Astronomy with Children