Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Eagle Scout Project by
Geno Chandler
Parker Middle School, Howell, MI

The "Human Sundial", technically called an analemmatic sundial, allows one's own shadow to cast the time of day.  The sundial works with students of any height, where all they have to do is stand on the current day of year mark of a central walkway.  The analemmatic sundial can be painted onto concrete or asphalt playgrounds or, using markers and a brick or paver-stone walkway, be designed for a flat, grassy area.

The typical East-West size of the analemmatic sundial is 16 to 20 feet and using the attached spreadsheet, can be designed for any latitude. Because the markers and walkway can be set at ground level there are no safety hazards such as tripping on a gnomon (well, tripping on a gnomon for the "Human Sundial" means there is some rough-housing going on among the students). This type of dial works well as a group project.  The instructions given in the attachments were created to ensure team participation in marking out the dial.  The walkway can be done in a variety of different ways with individualized drawings for each month of the year.

Access this URL (/images/NASS_TeachersCorner/Analemmatic_Dial_Construction.xls)Analemmatic_Dial_Construction.xls[Spreadsheet with Macros]196 kB
Access this URL (/images/NASS_TeachersCorner/Making_an_Analemmatic_Sundial.pdf)Making_an_Analemmatic_Sundial.pdf[Instructions on making a Human Sundial]1885 kB