In this activity, students engage in long-term systematic observation to learn about the apparent annual motion of the Sun caused by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. Students put a dot on a window where sunlight enters the classroom (or any room into which sunlight enters each day) and mark the position of the shadow cast by the dot day by day and throughout the school year. To make a personal connection to the activity, spots marked on a student’s birthday can be labeled with the student’s name. This activity can be done as a whole class or individual project. Part 1 of this activity involves establishing location, and casual observation over the course of a day. Part 2, involves “daily” (Monday, Wednesday, Friday is fine) marking of Sun-track at a specific time of day over the course of at least a month. This activity should be run for at least a month, but is best as a school-year-long project. The lesson includes a math extension activity to calculate the average daily motion at which the sunbeam shadow moves, as well as background information about the analemma. This activity is the fourth lesson in the Ancient Eyes Look to the Skies curriculum guide.


  • Mathematics > General

Education Levels:

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 9
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12


Mathematics:Data collection, analysis and probability,archaeoastronomy,Middle School,NSDL,Grade 4,Grade 5,NSDL_SetSpec_ncs-NSDL-COLLECTION-000-003-112-115,Heliophysics,Upper Elementary,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20140407124300055T,The nature of science:The scientific process,Elementary School,Vocational/Professional Development Education,Earth and space science:Earth, moon and sun:Seasons,Mathematics,History/Policy/Law,The nature of science:Science and society,Geoscience,Earth and space science:Earth, moon and sun:Days,History of science



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