Provision of Education in Gnomonics.

The British Sundial Society is an Educational Charity Registered in England and Wales No. 1032530

One Object of the The British Sundial Society is: To advance the education of the public in the science and art of gnomonics.

The Society currently meets this obligation very well in respect of interested adults but does little or nothing as a society to encourage youngsters, especially those in secondary school.  However some members have designed analemmatic dials for primary schools.  These dials are set in (or are painted on) the ground. The child stands at the appropriate place on a date scale and their shadow indicates the time on an elliptical scale.  One such example is described in a PDF that can be printed and folded to form a leaflet here.  These do allow the topic of the sun to be discussed and more importantly actually allow the child to 'see the earth turning'.

Over a hundred BSS members have indicated an interest in the promotion of education when they joined the Society and many of those feel that the Society should offer a resource on its web site to support teachers and pupils especially and particularly in respect of (BSS Member) Peter Ransom's astonishing success in getting the use of sundials onto the UK's National Curriculum as a project for children in the age group 11-14.

In a one page memo to the Council of the Society in early 2011 he said:

"In 2008 the Bowland Charity published a DVD that was sent to all schools in England. This DVD contained 21 case studies of mathematics to help make mathematics fun and absorbing for pupils aged 11-14. The aim is to help change pupilsí views of maths by increasing their motivation and enjoyment, which should help increase their confidence and their competence. A second aim is to help teach mathematics in a different way".

Peter's full note (a PDF) can be downloaded here.

In it Peter refers to a mention of his involvement (with the blessing of the BSS) in the Eleventh International Congress on Mathematics Education held in Mexico in 2008.

What form any new BSS resource might take and how BSS as a small charity might establish and thereafter maintain it, is the issue.  In 2013 Peter Ransom was appointed Specialist to the Council on the matter of Education.  He has already asked for input of ideas for improving the role of the Society in the Education of the Public in dialling matters.  Here are just twelve suggestions that he and the BSS Council might adopt.

Point 9 in the above document mentions the particular educational success of the collaboration with the Northamptonshire WI.  A lovely follow up to that was their issue of a Calendar in 2002 about that very project.  You can actually see the images used for that Calendar Here

A PDF version of this twelve suggestions document may be downloaded here

If when reading this page and the linked documents you have any ideas on this most worthwhile topic - or if you would simply like to endorse some, or all, of the above - please do write to Peter Ransom.  He can be contacted by email at

Thank you.