Category Archives: Science: Earth/Space

Telling Time by the Sun and Stars


My latest project is to have us learn how to tell time without a clock. Sometimes when we go to the beach, it would be useful to know the time without having to pull out a cell phone (which could end up in the hands of a wet kid or other catastrophe).

The other day, I had the kids go out every hour (more or less) and plot on a piece of paper the sun’s position —–well, things kind of fizzled by the afternoon so we didn’t finish our observations, but in sha Allah, we’ll continue learning as I think this is a very useful skill.

So here are some resources I’ve collected in hopes of using, in sha Allah.


Sun Position Calculator

Well this kind of ruins the whole going out an observing experience, but you can just use it as a check and still observe.

Select your location and it gives you a diagram of where the sun is at different points during the day.  Neat!

How to Tell Time Using the Sun, Moon, and/or Stars


How to tell time from the sun

How to tell time by the sun

Tells how to estimate how many more hours of sunlight are left.

How to Tell Time Without a Clock (by the sun, moon, or stars)

Telling Time by the Light of the Moon

Lesson plan for grade 6-8

Has a neat seat of pictures for making a lunar flip book!

How to Tell Time without a Clock

I thought this was pretty well and simply written.


Telling Time by Sun and Stars



How Does a Sundial Work?

Lots of Links related to sundials

Making Sundials/Sun Clocks
Make a Sundial

Making a Sun Clock – experiment

Also a little background information on when time in US began to be regulated

Make Your Own Sundial

Garden Sundial

Homemade Sundial

Fun in the Sun Sundial activity (simple)

Resources for times of sunset/sunrise:

For US:

Custom Sunrise Sunset Calendar


You can compare these with your prayer calendar times if you use one……



One thing I marveled at was yet another beauty of Islam.  Our prayer times coincide with major events/times of the day (sunrise– time of shurooq, when fajr goes out; sunset, noon(ish), etc, so we can use those as points for the kids to go out and observe where the sun is.  This will be useful so that they can know approximately what prayer is/will be in (my 10 year old has trouble figuring out if it’s likely to be dhuhr or asr sometimes).


Posted by on March 27, 2010 in Science: Earth/Space


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