Here students are taking hourly recordings of a shadow cast by a stationary dowel rod. As the Earth turns around on its axis, all objects external of it seem to move across the sky. As the Sun arcs up and over, shadows cast by it will change their length and orientation. The students are making their first observations here.
This is a photo taken at about noon during this hourly investigation. Last year's painted sun stick experiment can be seen in the background with its shadow pointing towards the mid-day mark.
Here is the class with the completed sun stick painting on their playground. It is about 10:30 in the morning by the placement of their shadows. One student can be seen measuring the length of that shadow.
In this photograph, students are learning about how to measure the angle of the Sun from the shadow length. The geometry is such that a straight line can be drawn from the Sun to the stick tip to the end of the shadow length. Thus, an angle then of the Sun above the stick can be seen by making a triangle from this geometry. Students here have just cut out of paper some triangles which fit the geometry. With protractors, they can measure the angle of the Sun height.
The 5th and sixth graders were experimenting with how light and angle can affect heat. This is in connection with why the tilt of the Earth causes the seasons to happen. Here they are setting up clipboards with thermometers aimed away from the Sun.
In this second photograph, students are aiming their clipboards towards the Sun and taking temperature readings. What they found was that the aimed clipboards remained at an average higher temperature than those aimed away from the Sun. Next, they will examine the temperature difference from when school started to now to see if this change occurs here as well.
Students here are exploring the Internet in their classroom. The Internet serves as another hands-on way of exploring our world.

Comet Hale-Bopp over Petersham Center School (courtesy John Small of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston)

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Author/WebMaster Tania Ruiz
Last updated January 29, 1997