Shadows and Sun

  • Throughout the day, as the sun moves, a shadow is created. This shadow can actually help measure time. How does a sundial work and how can you tell time with one?
  • In the Northern Hemisphere, you can find your way north by looking at moss on a tree. Moss only grows on the northern part of the tree. Why is this so and is it true in the Southern Hemisphere?

In the Northern Hemisphere, Gina, Frank, Karen, and Cameron created a human sundial.

9:00 AM
10:00 AM

11:00 AM

12:00 PM
1:00 PM

We also checked out the trees in the schoolyard.


In Moturoa, New Zealand we found out that a sundial is a kind of clock.

People used them before they had batteries. The shadow falls on a number and that is the time. This sundial is in Richmond which about a ten minutes drive from school. In the Southern Hemisphere sundials would have to face the north or you wouldn't be able to see the shadow.

You can see where the shadow falls and see what time of day I took the photo. This sundial even shows you daylight saving time. It is a very cool sundial.


In our playground moss usually grows sort of round the whole tree but on a few trees it is most on the southern side like on this photo that Ryan took.


Because the sun is in the north it is usually drier on that side and moss likes to be wet so it grows on the south side of trees.