Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Craft Lesson # 6: Sidewalk Circus

Shadows and Sun Clocks

Targeted age Group:
Second Grade

In the book, Sidewalk Circus, shadows play a very important role in understanding the textless story. In older times people utilized shadows as a way to tell time through sun dials or sun clocks. These ancient clocks tell time by the postion of a shadow which is cast by the sun.

How to teach it:
I would start the lesson by reading/showing the book to the class and reminding them to pay close attention to the changing shadows. After we have gone through the book I would begin a class discussion about what shadows are. I would get input from the class and then explain that shadows can play an important role in telling time.

Then I would have the class make their own sun clocks in groups of five. I have found a diagram for making sun dials that I would print out and give to each group.
(The diagram is at the bottom of this blog entry) Each group would also be given a compass and pencil in order to create the sun clock. They begin by going outside on a sunny day and laying the sun clock worksheet on the ground with the arrow that represents their city facing north. (They have to use their compass to navigate which direction is north.) They they stand the pencil up in the middle of the sun clock diagram on the days date to reveal what time it is.

This is a fun way to learn about both shadows, time, working as a team, and being outside.


Fleischman, Paul. Sidewalk Circus. Illus. Kevin Hawkes. Cambridge, MA: Candlewich Press, 2004.

Diagram found at the