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A Brief History of Time Measurement

Noticing the regular movement of the Sun and the stars has led to a desire to measure time. This article for teachers and learners looks at the history of man's need to measure things.

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What Is the Time?

Can you put these times on the clocks in order? You might like to arrange them in a circle.

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Discuss and Choose

This activity challenges you to decide on the 'best' number to use in each statement. You may need to do some estimating, some calculating and some research.

Observing the Sun and the Moon

Stage: 2 and 3 Challenge Level: Challenge Level:1

Here are some questions you might explore, or you may have your own questions about the sun or the moon which you would like to investigate:

  • the time when the sun sets or rises
  • the place on the horizon where you last or first see it
  • the time when the moon sets or rises
  • the place on the horizon where you last or first see it 
  • the phases of the moon
  • the number of sunspots on the sun and how they move (more information) - but it is very important that you do NOT look directly at the sun.  The easiest safe way to observe the sun is to use a pinhole camera.

A paper plate is a good way to show where there are tall trees or buildings on the horizon which you can use for a marker, and where the sun or moon rises or sets. It's also a good way to show sunspots.

Further activities on sunrise and sunset.