Astrolabes are the world's oldest scientific instrument. Here students build paper models that are true to the original and use them to determine the latitude of their location. Detailed instructions should be accurate to within 5˚ which is comparable to that of early sailors. Great student discussions re: challenges of using this equipment.
Use this to learn and reinforce answers to questions such as:
❑ How can we measure the angle of the sun in the sky?
❑ What does the sun's angle tell us?
❑ Does it matter when we measure the sun's angle?
Once students work through the activity, they can capture their observations using the included Lab Notes or probing questions included in the instructions.
♦ The sun’s angle changes throughout the day.
♦ You can determine your latitude by measuring the sun's angle
♦ The angle of the sun's zenith changes through the seasons
ES.1.b, ES.1.c, PS.1m.
Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.
Materials Needed: Copies of astrolabe (laminating optional); brad (1 per setup); hole punch, white poster board to use as screen (optional)
Teaching Time: 30 min
Prep Time: Copy, cut out, and assemble the paper model (students can do this)
Student Sheets Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting
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