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Clinometers: 19th century tools with a variety of uses

Clinometers: 19th century tools with a variety of uses

With downloadable 3D files and activity sheets, students will explore the clinometer, a 19th century tool used by scientists, explorers and naturalist. Emphasis is placed on using the clinometer to determine the height of an object as well as using it to determine your latitude.

The 3D printing files can be downloaded individually. Activities and 3D print files for the module can be reproduced as necessary for your classroom.

TERMS OF USE

3D Printing File

Download and print your very own clinometer! Use these .stl files in the activities below.

Download STL files

Activity 1: How high is that?

In this activity you and your students will build a clinometer and learn how to use it to determine the height of an object. There are two versions of this activity, a simple one and an advanced one which uses trigonometric functions.

Download PDF – Simple method

Download PDF – Advanced method

Download Clinometer label

Activity 2: Determining your location

Your students will build a clinometer and learn how to use it to measure the location of the sun and to determine where you are on this planet!

Download ACTIVITY 2 PDF

Download Clinometer label

ArtiFactsheet

The artifacts collected, preserved, and displayed by Ingenium showcase Canada's rich history of innovation in science and technology. Each artifact tells a story of innovation and illustrates how science and technology have contributed to the transformation of Canada. Learn more about this artifact with this "ArtiFactsheet".

Download ARTIFACTSHEET PDF

Ingenium
Program Location
At Your School
Online

Star Charts and Activity Templates

empty image

Download the following tools, designed to help you better explore the stars.


Monthly Starcharts

These charts will help you find stars and constellations in the night sky – a great tool for naked eye observing.

Download full year (2.7Mb PDF)


Star Finders

Use one of the templates below to construct a simple planisphere. This tool can help you to identify stars and constellations. Its inner disk can be rotated to display the visible stars for any time and date.


Sundials

Diptych Sundial

The Diptych Sundial is more complex and sophisticated in its form. Diptych sundials were portable, and as such they were often seen as stylish accessories (much like a fancy watch would be today). This activity is best suited for older children, teens, and adults.

Download (145Kb PDF)


Our Astronomy Virtual Program helps educators to bring a part of the Museum to their students! This program is bursting with engaging activities — from hands-on demonstrations, to creative worksheets and project ideas.

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Program Location
Online

Ocean Explorers

Ocean Explorers School Program

Program Description

What lies deep beneath the ocean’s surface? This program examines the different technologies used to study and explore the mysterious world that takes up almost 75% of Earth’s surface. Using virtual reality technology, your students will dive with whales and discover the ocean depths. Students will learn about ocean sounds and North Atlantic Right Whales using an iPad, rove the ocean floor using Ozobots, and learn to classify marine animals.

Curriculum Links

ONTARIO QUEBEC
Grade 6 Science and Technology –
Understanding Life Systems: Biodiversity
Elementary Cycle 3 Science and Technology –
Living Things: Systems and Interactions
Grade 7 Science and Technology –
Understanding Life Systems: Interactions in the Environment
Secondary Cycle 1 Science and Technology –
The living World: Diversity of Life Forms

Please see the following document for more detailed curriculum links:

Ontario Québec

Teacher Tips

Make name tags to help the museum educator build rapport with students. Students may bring a lunch or purchase one from the museum’s café.

Teachers may preview the museum free of charge at any time, by presenting proof of their teaching status at the admission desk.

Consider familiarizing your group with our site by downloading a PDF document and PowerPoint presentation available below.

DOWNLOAD INFORMATION FOR PLANNING YOUR VISIT (ZIP, 6 MB)

Fees

$9 per student.
Includes Museum admission.
A minimum fee of $135 will be charged per group.

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Grade Level:
Grade 6 - Grade 7 (Ontario)
Elementary Cycle 2 - Elementary Cycle 3 (Quebec)
Fee
$9 per student
Duration
75 minutes
Dates Offered
September to May
Max Group Size
30
Program Location
At the Museum

Stargazing

Stargazing

At its simplest, stargazing is exactly what it sounds like: taking the time to look at what’s above you in the night sky. However, there’s literally a universe to discover out there! It’s not just stars to see, either. With the naked eye, you can see planets, comets, and even our Milky Way galaxy. Using instruments such as binoculars or telescopes, you can delve even further and discover what lies beyond the limitations of the human eye. The study of space and everything in it is called astronomy.

When stargazing, there are some interesting things to look out for. First, did you know that all stars are given a name? We also recognize constellations – pictures formed by connecting stars in the sky – which are fun and easy to find. While Western culture officially recognizes 88 Greek constellations, did you know that many cultures throughout history have detailed their own constellations? For example, the Ojibwe Native Peoples developed their own complex set, with formations such as the Maang (Loon), the Ojiig (Fisher) and the Ajijaak (Crane).

You might be interested in the brightness or the colours of stars. Yes, stars are different colours! The reason most appear white is because they are too far to see otherwise; however, stars such as Vega and Betelgeuse are coloured even to the naked eye.

Brightness depends on two factors: intrinsic brightness and distance. Some are naturally bright, and some are closer than others – making them brighter in our sky! This can be measured by the star’s magnitude. A star of first magnitude has the highest brightness, like our brightest star, Sirius.

How it works

Stargazing can be done without the use of any tools – all you need is a spot outside of city lights, your eyes, and some patience. However, there are a few tools that can enhance your stargazing experience, such as star charts, telescopes, and software.

The simplest tool is the star chart. Humans are pattern-recognizing animals, so over the years we have categorized random groups of stars into shapes, or constellations. By locating a few clear landmarks, star charts can help us find other constellations, stars, and even planets.

Optical telescopes are used to make objects in the night sky more visible. These work by collecting light in an area called the objective. In a refracting telescope, this is a convex lens. After, the light is passed through another convex lens called the eyepiece. Reflecting telescopes, on the other hand, have a mirror for an objective. There are other types of telescopes too, like the radio telescope – which uses radio waves to detect objects in space.

Lastly, easily-accessible software has been developed to help star gazers explore the sky. Star Chart, for example, is a phone and tablet-friendly app that works just like your regular paper star chart – but with an augmented reality twist. Hold the camera up to the sky, and labels and information will be superimposed on what you see above. It’s like having your own personal tour guide of the universe!

Why it matters

If you were lost and alone – without a cell phone, map, or even a compass – would you know which way to go? For thousands of years, early migrating humans used nothing but the night sky to navigate our planet. Without their unfaltering patterns and the guidance of the North Star (Polaris), civilizations would not have been able to spread and migrate the way they did.

Stargazing was also the precursor to modern space exploration. Insatiable curiosities about the stars led to the telescope in the early 17th century. Now, massive telescopes like the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on Maunakea give us a deep look at the stars above. To date, humankind has sent satellites into orbit, a spacecraft 18.2 billion kilometers from the sun, and people to the surface of the moon. Ironically, the GPS technologies that we rely on today originated from looking to the stars centuries ago.

A Canadian connection

In 1925, a young American prospective chemist, Helen Sawyer Hogg, witnessed something that changed the course of her life forever: a total eclipse of the sun. From that point, she was drawn to gazing at the stars for the rest of her life. After moving to British Columbia with her husband – who worked at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory – she spent time as a volunteer at the Observatory observing globular clusters. Despite being in a male-dominated field, she rose through the ranks and became a full Professor, receiving many awards. She authored an astronomy column in the Toronto Star for 30 years, and wrote a popular astronomy novel to show that The Stars Belong to Everyone, no matter what.

Helen Sawyer Hogg

Go further

Learn more about astronomy here.

Discover the astronomical contributions of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on their website.

Check out space exploration in Canada with the Canadian Space Agency.

Try This Out - Discover the Stars
Try This Out - Constellation flashlight
Try This Out - Periscope

Image Gallery

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Program Location
Online

Space Exploration Edukit

Space Exploration Edukit

Students discover Canada’s rich history of Space exploration, from the Alouette to the International Space Station. They examine the basics of propulsion, learn about the collapsible STEM (Storable, Tubular, Extendible Member) antenna, and enjoy hands-on activities exploring the size and scale of our solar system.

Program Description:

This bilingual Edukit consists of four modules:

  1. Where is Space? — Gain an understanding of the concept of Space, and the distance scale in our solar system.
  2. Rockets and Spacecraft — Examine both the history of Space exploration and the fundamentals of rocket propulsion. Hands-on activities include building the Canadian-invented STEM collapsible antenna, launching a pop-bottle rocket, and using a simple altimeter to measure the rocket’s altitude.
  3. Explore the International Space Station — Learn about the ISS, with a special emphasis on Canadian contributions, including the Canadarm, the Canadarm2, and the new Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (known as “the hand”). The life of astronauts on board (again, with an emphasis on Canadian astronauts) is also examined, with topics ranging from what they eat, to the work they do, to how and where they do their “daily business” — in other words, things of interest to students in Grades 4 to 6! Hands-on activities include building a model space station (templates provided).
  4. How do Spacecraft Stay in Orbit? — Explore gravity and how it affects Space travel. Hands-on activities include a section on how spacecraft stay in orbit, as well as several activities designed to demonstrate and reinforce the concept of microgravity.

Interactive Props

  • Mini-telescopes
  • FRS radio
  • Altimeters
  • STEM antenna demonstrator
  • Globe
  • Water-rocket kit
  • Orbit simulator
  • Microgravity demonstrator

Additional Information and Learning Aids

  • Extensive manual for teachers, including background material, templates, and lesson plans for activities
  • Laminated photos and transparencies to support lessons
  • Packing guide

The edukit comes in a sturdy case on wheels.

Dimensions: 63 cm x 49 cm x 35 cm (25" x 20" x 14")
Weight: 20 kg (44 lbs)

Fees:

$129 for four weeks (includes outbound shipping and handling)

Reservations:

To reserve this edukit, call 1-866-442-4416 (toll-free in Canada).

For more information, contact contact@ingeniumcanada.org.

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Grade Level:
Grade 4 - Grade 6 (Ontario)
Elementary Cycle 3 (Quebec)
Fee
$129 for four weeks (includes outbound shipping and handling)
Program Location
At Your School

Discover the Stars

Discover the Stars

Star finders, or planispheres, are used by stargazers all over the world to find stars in the night sky. Make your own – and you can explore constellations from your own backyard!

What you need

Safety first!

Adult supervision may be needed when handling scissors.

Make it

  1. Figure out what latitude you’re at, by searching online or with a GPS. The capital of Canada and the capitals of each Canadian province and territory are:
    • Ottawa: (capital of Canada) 45° 24' N , 75° 41' W
    • Charlottetown: 46° 14' N , 63° 7' W
    • Edmonton: 53° 32' N , 113° 29' W
    • Fredericton: 45° 57' N , 66° 38' W
    • Halifax: 44° 38' N , 63° 34' W
    • Iqaluit: 63° 44' N , 68° 31' W
    • Montreal: 45° 30' N , 73° 33' W
    • Quebec: 52° 56' N / 73° 32' W
    • Regina: 50° 27' N , 104° 36' W
    • Toronto: 43° 39' N , 79° 22' W
    • Vancouver: 49° 14' N , 123° 6' W
    • Whitehorse: 60° 43' N , 135° 3' W
    • Winnipeg: 49° 53' N , 97° 9' W
    • Yellowknife: 62° 27' N , 114° 22' W
  2. Determine which star wheel to use, given your latitude.
  3. Cut out the star wheel and the cover along the solid outside lines.
  4. Cut out the shaded oval on the outer solid line.
  5. Fold the bottom tab backwards, along the dotted lines.
  6. Fold the two side tabs backwards over the dotted lines, over top of the bottom flap you just folded in. Tape them to the back flap to keep everything in place, forming a pocket.
  7. Cut out your star wheel, and place it into the sleeve, so that the constellations are visible through the hole you made in step 4.

Test it

Head outside after dark with your plansiphere, a flashlight, and a compass. Rotate the star wheel so that the date aligns with the time, using the DST scale if you’re currently in daylight savings time. Hold the wheel still inside the cover, and rotate the planisphere so that whichever direction you are facing is at the bottom of the cover. The edge of the opening now shows the horizon. Stars toward the eastern side are rising, stars in the western side are setting, and stars near the centre of the opening are overhead.

Explain it

Besides the Sun, the stars in our universe are so far away from Earth that they don’t noticeably move in relation to each other, within the span of a lifetime. Because of this, a map that is fairly constant can be constructed and used for the stars. There are no planets or satellites (moons) included, as they are close enough to Earth to change rapidly from day to day. The portion of these stars that are seen changes depending on the time of year – as the Earth rotates around the Sun – exposing different parts of the night sky.

Observe It

Planispheres are mostly used for amateur stargazing. They are a fast, easy, and cost-effective way to orient yourself as you observe the night sky!

Go further

Many different cultures saw the night sky in different ways. The constellations on the planisphere you just made are Greek in origin, but they are by no means the only set out there.

Try making one of these planispheres developed by Native Skywatchers. What similarities and differences do you notice between them and the Greek constellations planisphere? By doing some research, you can learn about the different mythologies, legends, and stories behind Indigenous and Greek star charts – and how they came to be.

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Duration
10 minutes
Difficulty Level:
Easy
Program Location
Online

Periscope

Periscope

Have you ever wanted to see above something that was taller than you, maybe at a parade or a concert? In this activity, you’ll find out how to use mirrors to help you see above it all by making a periscope.

What you need

  • Empty, 1 L carton
  • 2 small, flat mirrors (that roughly fit at a 45° angle inside the carton)
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Safety first!

Adult supervision may be needed when handling scissors.

Make it

  1. Prepare your carton by rinsing it out thoroughly.
  2. Cut a square hole out of the back of the carton, about 5x5 cm. It should be about 2 cm from the bottom. Get an adult to help if you need it!
  3. Cut a square hole out of the front of the carton, about 5x5 cm. It should be about 2 cm from the top.
  4. On one side of the carton, cut along the top and sides – so you’re left with a flap that’s attached at the bottom.
  5. Place your first mirror inside the bottom of the carton, reflective side up. One side of the mirror should be wedged in the bottom back edge of the carton, leaning against the front side of the carton. It should rest at a 45° angle. Tape it in place without covering too much of the mirror.
  6. Place your second mirror inside the top of the carton, reflective side down. One side of the mirror should be wedged in the top front edge of the carton, and the other side should be attached to the back panel of the carton. Tape it in place without covering too much of the mirror.
  7. Tape the side flap closed.

Test it

Look through the bottom hole. The image you should see is whatever is in front of the top hole! Try hiding behind something, like a couch, and have just top of the periscope hanging over. You’ll be able to see over the edge!

Explain it

When you look in the bottom hole, the light you’re seeing has come in through the top hole. It then bounces off of the top mirror, which sends it to the bottom mirror, which reflects it back into your eyes. That’s why you can see out – you’re looking at a reflection of a reflection!

Observe it

Submarines often don’t have windows at the front. Instead, they have a periscope attached to the top to see out. These periscopes have been used for everything from military purposes to observing marine life.

Go further

Just like periscopes, telescopes change the direction of light coming to your eyes. There are two primary types of telescopes – refracting and reflecting. As the name suggests, reflecting telescopes make use of mirrors to reflect incoming light. Using what you’ve learned from your periscope, fill in the diagram below with where you think the lenses and mirrors might be found in a reflecting telescope. Make sure you draw in lines to represent the path of incoming light!

periscope diagram

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Duration
30 minutes
Difficulty Level:
Hard
Program Location
Online

Compass

Compass

Long before the age of GPS, navigators and explorers found their way using a compass. In this activity, make your own to bring on your next adventure!

What you need

  • A wine cork
  • A clear plastic container
  • Tap water
  • A magnet
  • A metal sewing needle
  • Scissors
  • A printed copy of the compass rose template (in the PDF)

Safety first!

Adult supervision may be needed when handling sharp sewing needles and scissors.

Make it

  1. Print out the compass rose template.
  2. Fill the plastic container with water and place it in the middle of the compass rose.
  3. To magnetize the needle, rub the magnet along the needle at least 50 times – always in the same direction, from the eye to the tip.
  4. Cut the cork in half lengthwise with the scissors. Ask an adult for help with this step; corks can be hard to cut.
  5. Using the scissors, carefully scrape out a notch lengthwise down the centre of the cork.
  6. Place the cork on the water, with the cut edge facing up.
  7. Carefully place the magnetized needle into the notch made in the cork.

Test it

Once your compass is built, the needle should point north. Ask an adult to verify this using a map, compass, or GPS. Then, rotate the container and the template so that the north on the template lines up with the needle. This is how you would use a compass if you were lost. You rotate it so that the north marking lines up with the needle, and that tells you which way to go to travel in any direction!

Explain it

All magnets have a north pole and a south pole, and when it comes to magnets, opposites attract. Two north poles or two south poles on different magnets will repel one another, but a north and a south pole will attract. When you rub the magnet on a needle (which contains iron), a process called magnetic induction occurs, meaning that it temporarily turns the needle into a magnet. The Earth acts as a big magnet, and has magnetic poles as well. Its magnetic north pole will attract the south pole of a magnetized needle in a compass.

Observe it

Today, we mostly use GPS to navigate. However, this technology was invented quite recently, and before that, the compass was the best invention for the job. Even today, if you’re hiking anywhere, it’s a good idea to bring a compass – you never know if you’ll lose cell service or run out of charge. That way, you can navigate back to safety – no matter what!

Go further

What do you think would happen if you stood on the geographic North Pole (the very top of the Earth, on the axis) and pointed your compass? It would still move and point! This is because the geographic North Pole and the magnetic North Pole (where your compass naturally points) are not in the same place. The same goes for the South Poles. In fact, the geographic and magnetic poles aren’t even all that close to one another!

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Duration
10 minutes
Difficulty Level:
Easy
Program Location
Online

Shadow tracking

Shadow tracking

On a sunny day, your shadow follows you everywhere! Have you ever noticed that it slowly changes position throughout the day? In this activity, track your shadow all day to see where it goes.

What you need

  • Pavement
  • Chalk
  • A friend
  • A clock
  • A sunny day

Make it

  1. Early in the day, go stand out on the pavement. Make sure that you are in a big open space, without any tall objects around you.
  2. Take the chalk and trace around your feet.
  3. Give the chalk to a friend, and have them trace the outline of your shadow. Write the time above the outline.
  4. Every hour, repeat step 3 for at least five hours. Make sure you’re standing inside the foot outline you drew in step 2!

Test it

Take a look at all of the shadow outlines you’ve made – they moved quite a bit, didn’t they? You will also notice that the shadows have changed shape just a bit. Can you figure out why that is?

Explain it

The Earth is a planet, which rotates around its axis (an imaginary line down the centre) once a day. During the day, as the Earth rotates from west to east, your position relative to the sun will become more and more westward, and the sun will appear to move higher in the sky. This phenomenon means that the sun hits your location at different angles all day.

Observe it

One of the challenges with solar panels is they are not always in the direct path of the sun’s rays, since the sun moves during the day. In response to this problem, engineers have developed solar panels that can track the changing position of the sun and move accordingly, to get the most sunlight to its surface as possible.

Go further

Look at where your shadow fell at the beginning of the day, and look where it fell at the end of the day. From there, you can figure out which way is north, east, south, and west. If you’re having trouble, think about the spin of the planet. From there, determine which direction the sun rises and sets in, and use that information to help you figure it out.

Canada Science and Technology Museum
Duration
300 minutes
Difficulty Level:
Easy
Program Location
Online