Shadows All Around Us

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Science, Earth and Space Science

Grade 1- 3

Objective

Students will learn about where a shadow should fall based on the position of the sun.

Directions

Before the Computer
  • Read one of the books mentioned above to students or any book that addresses shadows.
  • Conduct a whole-class demonstration lesson on shadow casting. This can be done in the early morning with the sun at a low angle or in a dimly lit room with a flashlight acting as the sun. If desired, you can relate the time of day/position of shadows to the daily cycle of earth rotation and of the sun hitting the earth.
  • Allow the children, in small groups, to experience shadow casting on their own.
  • The students can work from the Shadows All Around Us planning sheet.

On the Computer
  • Create a template on the computer using the Template worksheet as an example. Students could also create the worksheet (page 51) on their own.
  • Using the Shadow tool, cast a shadow in the proper direction based on the position of the sun.

Extensions
  • Allow the students to move the sun on the template and adjust the shadows for the new sun position.
  • Have the students create their own templates--a little differently! Instead of determining which direction a shadow would be cast by looking at the position of the sun, the student could create shadowed objects, and have a classmate determine the position of the sun.
  • Pose the question--Would the shadows look the same at 10:00 in the morning on June 1st and December 1st? Why or why not?
  • Would the shadows look the same in your town and in [choose a location in an opposite hemisphere at approximately the same longitude] at the same time on the same day?

Resources

  • one or more of the following books: Bear Shadow by Frank Asch, My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson, Guess Whose Shadow? by Stephen R. Swinburne (great for explaining/investigating shadows), Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow by Ann Tompert
  • wood blocks or anything that would cast a shadow
  • flashlight or direct light source for casting shadows
  • globe and/or model of the earth and sun (optional)
  • copies of the Shadows All Around Us planning sheet (see the link to the activity pages below)
  • copies of the Shadows All Around Us template sheet (see the activity pages below)

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