At the Anthem Veterans Memorial in Arizona, every year on 11/11, at exactly 11:11 in the morning, the sun shines exactly through the 5 ovals you see here. It lights up the United States Seal on the ground. With Earth traveling around the Sun on a tilt, this sculpture lines up only at this moment plus one moment in the spring, when Earth has the same tilt. The rectangles stand for the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard — so the sun can honor all our veterans today.
Wee ones: The holes in the pillars are “ellipses,” or ovals. How are ovals different from circles? Discuss!
Little kids: If the moment happens at about 11 am and you show up 3 hours early, at what time do you get there? Bonus: The shortest rectangle pillar stands 6 feet tall. If each pillar were exactly 3 feet taller than the one before it, how tall would the next two pillars be?
Big kids: If the heights of the pillars are all evenly spaced from each other between 6 and 17 feet, how tall is the middle pillar? Bonus: If the other day of the year that this happens is as many days before the start of fall (Sept. 23) as this day is after Sept. 23, on what other day does this sun show work? (Reminder if needed: 30 days hath September, April, June, and November…all the rest have 31, except February which has 28.)
Wee ones: They’re both round, but circles are the same width in every direction, while ellipses are longer across one direction and shorter across another.
Little kids: At 8 am. Bonus: 9 feet and 12 feet.
Big kids: 11 1/2 feet. Bonus: On August 5. November 11 is 7+31+11 days after Sept 23, or 49 days. So we now need to find the date 49 days before Sept. 23. September 1 is 22 days before, so August 31 is 23 days before it…we need to back up another 26 days from that, bringing us to August 5.