Make a Shadow Clock

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Science, Earth and Space Science

Grade 1- 3


Before there were clocks, people used shadow clocks or sundials to tell time. Students will work together to make shadow clocks.


Cut out the triangle pattern and trace it onto tagboard. Then, cut out the tagboard triangle.
Fold along the solid line, and crease one tab to the right and one to the left.
Attach the tabs of the triangle to the center of the remaining tagboard sheet using glue or tape.
Take the shadow clock outside, shortly before noon, with a pencil and some pins or small nails.
Find a place on the ground where the shadow clock will not be disturbed. Position the clock so that there is no shadow to the sides of the triangle when it is exactly noon.
Secure the clock in place by pressing pins or small nails through the bottom tagboard sheet into the ground.
Check the shadow clock every hour on the hour and mark with a pencil where the shadow falls. Continue in this manner through the school day and again the following morning.
On each day, have the students check the shadow clock to tell the time. Encourage them to compare this clock to a watch for accuracy.


  • shadow clock triangle pattern (page 39-see the link below)
  • pencil
  • two sheets of tagboard
  • glue or tape
  • pins or small nails

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