Skip Navigation

Swirled World! and Make a Sundial

  Swirled World  
Try this! You can make a model of the way our Earth's environment is affected by natural and man-made disasters. You will need a paper plate (wax coated works best), one fourth cup whole milk, food coloring (red, blue, green, and yellow), and dishwashing soap, preferably clear or light colored. Soap, milk, and paper plate
  1. Mark the four directions (North, South, East, and West) on the outer edge of your paper plate. Consider where the major continents would be in relation to the directions.
  2. Pour the milk into the plate, this represents the atmosphere surrounding the Earth.
  3. Place several drops of each color of food coloring randomly in the milk. Each drop will represent a different global disaster. For example, the red drops could represent a forest fire, green—volcanoes, and yellow—pollution due to car exhaust.
  4. Look at the colors on your plate. Are they spreading and running into each other? Is each "disaster" isolated in its own area?
  5. Now, put several squirts of dishwashing liquid randomly in the plate. This represents energy from the sun.
  6. Observe. What happens to the disasters represented by the colors?

Weather and ocean currents all are caused by heating and cooling of different parts of the earth's surfaces. Did you know that the greatest risk from sun exposure is between 10:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon?

Make a Sundial!
You can use the sun to tell time by making a sundial. You will need a shoe box, a paper plate, tape, scissors, and a popsicle stick or pencil.
  1. Cut the sides of a shoe box as shown in picture.
  2. Fold the Long edge of the box down and tape into place.
  3. Place the shoe box lid over the box.
  4. Cut the paper plate in half (You will only use one of the halves.)
  5. Make a mark at the center of the curved edge of the half plate. Label it "12."
  6. Make 5 evenly spaced marks on each side of the "12" and label as shown.
  7. Tape the plate on the top of the lid with the straight edge at the top of the box. Fold the plate over and tape down.
  8. Tape the popsicle stick so that it points straight up as shown.
  9. Put your sundial in the sun, facing North. Where does the shadow fall? Compare the time on your sundial to the time on a clock.
Pictures of the sundial process described by the text



My Health My World Explorations for Children and Adults are publications of the Center for Educational Outreach  at Baylor College of Medicine , made possible by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. For more information, contact Center for Educational Outreach, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

Back to Natural World