In this activity, students learn the basics of the horizon, direction and the rising and settings of the Sun and stars by making a schoolyard "medicine wheel" with sidewalk chalk on playground asphalt. Medicine wheels are stone rings constructed by the Plains people of North America which may have been used as a calendar system based on observations of objects in the sky. This activity requires a flat area at least 6 meters across – preferably asphalt or concrete – that has a good view of the sky. It can be done as a whole class activity. Part 1 of this activity involves constructing the medicine wheel (about 10-15 minutes). Part 2 of this activity involves making ongoing observations throughout the year at noon (about 10-15 minutes for each observation). Part 3 involves making observations from the wheel during after-school hours to observe the rising or setting points of stars, the Sun and Moon. Discussion questions, background information and a math extension activity are included. This activity is the second 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


NSDL,Grade 4,Grade 5,NSDL_SetSpec_ncs-NSDL-COLLECTION-000-003-112-115,oai:nsdl.org:2200/20140407124236646T,Astronomical time,Latitude,Mathematics,Social Sciences,History of science,Earth and space science:Earth history:Archeology,Upper Elementary,The nature of science:The scientific process,Solstices,Earth and space science:Earth, moon and sun:Days,Life Science,The nature of science:Science and society,Archaeoastronomy,Middle School,Elementary School,Civil time,Azimuth,Natural history,History/Policy/Law,Equinoxes,Mathematics:Geometry,Heliophysics,Vocational/Professional Development Education,Earth and space science:Earth, moon and sun:Seasons,Geoscience



Access Privileges:

Public - Available to anyone

License Deed:

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike


This resource has not yet been aligned.
Curriki Rating
'NR' - This resource has not been rated
'NR' - This resource has not been rated

This resource has not yet been reviewed.

Not Rated Yet.

Non-profit Tax ID # 203478467