Canyon Observation Seasons & Alignments Time References Webcast

Teacher Tips
for Knowing North

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Grade Level

National Standards Addressed
Grades 5–8:
Earth and Space Science: Earth in the Solar System
Science as Inquiry: Design & Conduct Investigation; Analyze & Interpret Data, Develop Explanations, Think Critically

Grades K–4:
Physical Science: Position and Motion of Objects
Physical Science: Earth & Space: Objects in the Sky
Physical Science: Earth & Space: Changes in the Earth & Sky

Key Concepts
Cardinal directions; movement of the sun; rotation of the earth; relationship between time, sun, and location on earth.

Background Science
Geographic versus magnetic north

Drifting of the earth’s magnetic pole

History of clocks and timekeeping

Ideas for Discussion
• Can you explain why it is day for some people in the world while it is night for others?

• How does the sun’s passage across the sky during the day affect where your shadow will fall?

• The Chacoan people built many buildings to align with the cardinal directions (north, south, east and west). Why would these kinds of alignments be important to ancient people living in the desert?

Going Further
Make a sun clock and use the sun’s shadow to tell time

Check for Understanding
• What will this exercise look like if you try to do it at noon?

• How would your finding of north be different if you were on daylight saving time and you forgot to set your watch back an hour?