Before clocks, we used to tell the time with sun dials. This weekend why not try making one for yourself!
These dials were often quite accurate and could sometimes be used to tell the time to the minute. To make your own all you need is a paper plate, a straw, ruler, a pencil, and a sunny day.
The first thing you need to do before starting the sun dial is to decide what hour you want to start at. In our example, let us say 10:00 am.
You could also just use a stick and some stones or shells to make your sun dial.
On the edge of the paper plate, write the number '10'. Then make a small hole – big enough for the straw to go through – in the middle of the plate.
After this, you will need to draw a straight line between the hole and the number. This represents 10:00 am on your sun dial.
Next, you will need to take your sun dial outside and place it on the ground shortly before 10:00 am. Then you should use a compass to find out where north is. When you have done this, put the straw in the hole in the middle and tilt it slightly towards north.
When it is time, go outside and rotate only the plate so the line you drew on earlier – from the centre to the number 10 – is under the shadow of your straw. Make sure the straw does not move and change the location of north.
Once you have done this, you only need to go to your sun dial every hour, writing the time above where the shadow of the straw is. Repeat this until either bedtime or until the sun sets.
And there you have it, your own sun dial in the garden. Just make sure you secure the plate to the ground – otherwise it might fly away!