How Long is Your Shadow on the Shortest Day?

What You Need:

  • A friend
  • A sunny day
  • Tape measure
  • Notebook
  • Pen 

What You Do:

  1. On Solstice Day (December 21) at noon, have your child choose a sunny spot to stand.
  2. You or one of her friends can measure your child’s whole shadow, from head to toe.
  3. Write down the day, time, location, and shadow length.
  4. Ask your child to observe the sky. Where is the sun in the sky? Directly overhead? Below some buildings?
  5. Encourage your child to measure the shadows of another fixed object, such as a fire hydrant, and record her observations.
  6. To extend this experiment, ask your child to record the same information on the Vernal Equinox (3rd week in March), Summer Solstice (3rd week in June) and the Autumnal Equinox (3rd week in September).
  7. What conclusions did your child draw? Is her shadow longer in the summer or winter?

This makes a quick and easy project to keep her mind working while she is off school during winter vacation!

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