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Spring Equinox measures

By Turtle Haste, M.S. Ed.

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It may be long after the initial project has completed, but the continuation of the measurement of a shadow cast by a 1-meter stick at different latitudes has become an international effort. With assistance from a member of the US Geological Survey who placed a message on a bulletin board, the spring equinox measurement gathered recordings from a variety of locations across the northern hemisphere. Collaborators in Norway, China, Russia, Egypt, the South Pole, and from several locations across the United States sent in their measurements.

Students were amazed by the collaboration and interest in their project. After discussing what they thought the measurements might be, based on their experience with the winter solstice locations from within the United States submitted from collaborators in Wisconsin, Colorado, California and New Mexico, students compared the actual measurements to their predictions for the new locations. Although they attempted to approximate within a range of what they thought the shadow length might be using their previous understanding, they were impressed that the overall pattern of shadow shortening was more striking than they had estimated. One student commented that he didn

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