Sun Dial

Make your own sun dial and tell the time using only a paper plate, a pencil and a felt tip or bio!



  • One paper plate (or plate sized circle of paper or card)
  • A pencil
  • A felt tip or biro



  1. (needs to be done on a sunny day)
  2. Carefully push the pencil through the centre of the paper plate leaving at least 3/4 of it above the plate surface.
  3. Put the plate in a sunny spot, you will need to leave it in exactly the same spot all day.
  4. At 8am, use the felt tip pen to mark where the shadow of the pencil is and label it as 8am.
  5. Repeat each of these stages every hour throughout the day.


The science

The planet turns throughout the day and this makes it look like the sun is moving across the sky. This means that the shadows move around too and so can be used to tell the time.