Time Passes

  • Time Length
    Group Created with Sketch.

    2+ hours

  • Mess Level
    Fill 1 Created with Sketch. Fill 1 Created with Sketch. Fill 1 Created with Sketch.

    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
    Shape Created with Sketch.


Question and Wonder:

  • Why do we keep time?
  • How can we tell time is passing without a clock?
  • What things change as time passes?

Imagine and Design:

  • How could you make something to measure the movement of time?
  • What things around you can you observe to tell the time?
  • How does the movement of time change you?
  • Can you measure the movement of time through those changes?

Decorate your paper plate if desired. Print out the clock face. (Here’s a link to some: Glue the clock face to the paper plate. Using the hammer and nail, make a hole in the center and insert the pencil (you might want to get some big person help with this part).  Place your sundial in a sunny spot.

Test and Discuss:

  • Where does the shadow fall on your sundial?
  • Compare it with the time your clock says. How accurate is it?
  • Check your sundial throughout the day. What do you notice?
  • What does that tell you about the movement of time?
  • What is the sundial measuring? How does this help us tell time?

Did You Know:

Find out more about sundials here:


Print Instructions