10+

Fundial

Four white steel outline scupltures of people on a paved area with gardens in the background.

Sundials cast shadows according to the Sun's position in the sky to estimate the time of day.

How it works

Walk around each of the four sculptures to view their shadows and gauge which shadow represents a number that is closest to the time of day.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • What time is it right now?
  • What does each sculpture's shape represent?
  • What does each sculpture's shadow represent?
  • How would the shadows change between Summer and Winter?

Background

Each Fundial sculpture is a metaphor for stages of human life and each sculpture casts a shadow during certain times of the day. The first sculpture shaped as a child casts a '10' shadow at around 10.00 am, while the fourth sculpture shaped as an elderly man with a walking stick casts a '4' shadow at around 4.00 pm.

The sculptures need to be adjusted slightly at different times ot the year, to allow for the Sun's changing position in the sky across the seasons.

Finding the science in your world

The Sun's position in the sky changes between Winter and Summer. This impacts on how sundials work at different times of the year, but can also be used to design houses for energy efficiency.

In the southern hemisphere, Winter generally occurs between June to August and the Sun moves across the sky at a lower angle and casts sunlight at a more diffuse, lower angle. Households that are built along solar passive design principles have eaves and other structures that allow sunlight to enter a household at the Sun's lower angle to assist in warming the house and minimising shading.

During the southern hemisphere's Summer (generally between December to February), the Sun is positioned high in the sky, so sunlight tends to hit the ground at a more direct angle. Solar passive houses are designed to block overhead, direct sunlight, to keep the house cooler.