These daytime astronomy activities arose from research done in New Zealand by a group of teachers and astronomers into the problems of teaching astronomy. This showed that it was generally regarded as a difficult subject to take, traditionally relying on books, films and models. The fortunate may have had a visit to an observatory or planetarium, the adventurous may have attempted an outdoor evening viewing session, which sometimes had weather-related difficulties.
The problem of not having many ‘hands-on’ activities, the feelings of inadequate knowledge, the felt need for astronomical equipment and expertise become too daunting for many teachers to do the subject justice. If astronomy was to be taught then a way around these difficulties needed to be found. Our group, working with teachers and children using the constructivism teaching approach, found that the principles of astronomy could be discovered during the day when the students are at school. Working co-operatively they measured and recorded observations of their shadows caused by the motions and interactions of the nearest star, the Sun (Sol), and our planet, Earth.
Because children were involved so personally they were much more interested in the results of the study. Astronomy became enthralling and challenging for both teacher and class after applying their daytime experiences to night time viewing at home and reporting back to class.