Measure Day Length

Spring is coming and the changing length of the days is one of the best clues that things are different. Why not keep a record of when the sun comes up in the morning and goes down in the evening?

If you get up early enough to see the sun rise, use a chart like the one below to write down the time it rises each clear morning. Again in the evening, use your chart to write down the time the sun sets on clear days.


March 1

March 2

March 3





Time sun rises

6:47 a.m.

6:46 a.m.

6:45 a.m.

Time sun sets

6:01 p.m.

6:02 p.m.

6:03 p.m.

Total hours and minutes of daylight

11 hours 14 minutes

11 hours 16 minutes

11 hours 18 minutes

On days that you can see both the sunrise and sunset, you can figure out the total number of hours and minutes of daylight. You may want to ask an adult or older brother or sister to help you figure out the number of hours and minutes of daylight. The chart shows a sample for March 1, 2002.

On days when it is too cloudy to see when the sun rises or sets, you can get the times of sunrise and sunset by looking in a newspaper or almanac. We say sunrise and sunset and when we look at the sky, it looks as if the sun moves across the sky. Remember the real cause of day and night is the spinning of the earth. This turns our side of the earth to the sun during daylight hours and away from the sun at night.

What causes this change in the number of hours of daylight? Take a look at Science U's page on the cause of the seasons.

Don't just wait for spring, look for it. Visit our Signs of Spring page for more ideas for finding clues that spring is coming.

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