Final Reports - Noon Day Project March-April, 2007
Homeschoolers - Ghent, NY, USA
Posted: 01 Apr 2007 22:25
Final Report   
Grade and/or Subject Area:
Grades 5 and 7 and a Mom who’s still learning after all these years!

Summary of Activities:
First, even though we had already studied about Eratosthenes earlier this year in History we researched his theories concerning the earth’s circumference using our local library and the internet.
Next, our mom made several worksheets from “The Noon Day Project” website. These worksheets included activities such as:
plotting the solar shadow one entire day then using Microsoft Excel to chart our results,
writing a composition assignment comparing the “Flat Earth Society” and “Earth is Round Club” point of views, learning new terms such as solar angle, solar noon, spring equinox  practice calculating circumferences using the “Pizza Pie” method, reviewing how to measure angles using a protractor and a compass, learning what % error meant and how to calculate it, locating on our World Atlas all the participants’ locations, listening to Jim Weiss’s CD about Galileo, and, of course,  going on-line to enter our introductions and project data, doing the Noon Day Project measurements and calculations!

Highlights:
We really liked the “hands-on” parts of this project. It was fun to run out in the snow without our jackets to record the solar shadow every half hour one day – it made school a lot more fun that day!  We also liked putting together our final report booklet with many photographs, charts, and graphs along with cool certificate of participation that our Mom made for us.

What would you do differently next time?
Next time we do the day-long solar shadow measurement we wouldn’t just stick our ruler in the frozen snow. It got wobbly and even fell down once! So when we did the Noon Day measurement, we used the website’s advice and used a bucket of kitty litter to hold our ruler fast! It works, but was sort of yucky!

We would also decide before hand what part of the shadow should be measured – the solid boundary vs. the fuzzy boundary.

We also wished we started our studies for this project a few weeks earlier. There was a lot to learn and practice before we got to the actual Noon Day part!

We didn’t have time to learn how to use a spreadsheet to do the calculations. We had to do them by hand (using a calculator) so we only did one partner school and the equator for the final calculations. It would have been interesting to be able to have compared our results to all of the locations using a spreadsheet. Maybe next time!

Conclusions – what did we you learn from your participation?
It was neat to be able to recreate the activities that Eratosthenes did nearly 2000 years ago and not just read about it in a book! We also liked being part of an Earth-wide project with so many diverse groups. It was fun to think that other people were sitting in their classrooms or homes and doing the exact same thing as we were doing. We learned so many new things about the sun and its shadows. It was also weird to see how mathematics, science, and geography are so hooked together!