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Ministry of Education.


Learning Outcomes | Teaching and Learning | Assessment and Evaluation | Printing Version

Writer Warren Bruce and Scott Wolfe
Year level Years 1-4 (Levels 1 and 2)
Who are my students and what do they already know?

Where is my Shadow?

What You Need

  • A sunny day
  • Copy of worksheet for each student
  • Pencil

What You Do

Take the students outside to observe their shadows on an asphalt surface.

Get the students to discuss what their shadow looks like. What happens to their shadow when they jump in the air? Where does their shadow go when they face into the light source (the Sun)? Remember never look directly at the Sun.

Give each student a copy of the worksheet (PDF 40KB) and get them to draw in their shadow.
Students then share their drawing in small groups and discuss the results. Teacher can display and observe the drawings and modify subsequent lesson content in order to meet the needs
This could be used at the end of the unit for students to make any changes based on what they now know.

What to Look For

  • Is the shadow attached to the feet of the outlined person?
  • Have they got their shadow going in the correct direction in relation to the Sun?
  • Does the length of their shadow reflect the height of the Sun on the worksheet?

Learning Outcomes

(What do my students need to learn)

Learning area(s) Science, Literacy and English
Curriculum achievement objectives for:  

Speaking Writing and Presenting

Level 1
Recognise how to shape texts for a purpose and audience.
Use language features, showing some recognition of their effects (topic-specific words).

Level 2
Show some understanding of how to shape texts for different purposes and audiences.
Use language features appropriately, showing some understanding of their effects.

Learning Area Focus

Nature of Science

Extend their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions, and discussing simple model. e.g. the students are observing and sharing their ideas like scientists do

Physical World

 Level 1 and 2
 Explore every day examples of physical phenomena. (Shadows)
 Seek and describe simple patterns in physical phenomena. (Shadows)

Overall language and literacy learning outcomes

Literacy Learning Progressions

After two years at school

  • use comprehension strategies to:
    • locate and interpret ideas and information that are directly stated or explicit in the text or illustrations
    • think critically about aspects such as the theme or ideas
  • use simple planning strategies to organise their ideas and then apply their planning as they turn ideas into connected sentences
  • develop content that is related to the curriculum topic, withsome (mostly relevant) detail

After three years at school

  • integrate and use a variety of comprehension strategies including:
    • making connections between ideas in the text and their prior knowledge in order to make simple inferences
    • identifying and keeping track of ideas and information across longer sections of text and looking for connections between ideas and information
  • create content, mostly relevant, that conveys several experiences, items of information, and/or ideas relating to the topic or task and that sometimes includes details and/or comment;
  • using increasingly specific words and phrases (e.g., adjectives and more precise nouns and verbs) that are appropriate to the content of the text;

Teaching and Learning

(What do I need to know and do to meet the range of identified learning needs of my students?)

Professional readings or relevant research Thinking about the nature of science (PDF 219KB)
Using the Nature of Science - Supporting Teaching and Learning (PDF 105KB)
Learning task 1
Learning task 2
Learning task 3
Learning task 4
Learning task 5

Assessment and Evaluation

(What is the impact of my teaching and learning?)

Provision for identifying next learning steps for students who need:

  • further teaching and learning opportunities
  • increased challenge

Assessment is ongoing and embedded in each of the tasks at a self, peer and teacher level.

An expectation that students understand and explain how scientists work.

An expectation that students can use science specific vocabulary in the correct context by explaining their ideas and understandings in oral and written form

Teachers adapt and modify content based on key questions from the Teaching as Inquiry Model Open ended investigative possibilities - posing questions to these ideas in the real world

Opportunities for new knowledge to be shared across the class by students based on experiences Class use and understanding of scientific vocabulary in context with tasks

Multiple opportunities for learning and of reinforcement conceptual understandings.

Tools or ideas which, for example, might be used to:

  • evaluate progress of the class and groups within it toward the identified outcomes
  • evaluate student engagement
  • changes to the sequence

Oral Peer and Self Assessment opportunities in relation to the Learning Intentions

Students ability to comment on their own understandings in relation to the tasks

Students ability to share and justify their understanding with peers in relation to the tasks

Resources to complement this unit

Picture Books

  • The Foggy Foggy Forest
     by Nick Sharratt
     ISBN 978-1-4063-0337-7
  • Darkness Slipped In
     By Ella Burfoot
     ISBN 13579642
  • Sidewalk Circus
     Presented by Paul Fleischman & Kevin Hawkes
     ISBN 978-0-7636-2795-9
  • The Boy with Two Shadows.
     by Margaret Mahy
     ISBN 9-78–0-14350440-5

MOE teacher resources

  • Ministry of Education (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum Science Learning Area - Nature of Science. Wellington: Learning Media.
  • Ministry of Education (2010). The Literacy Learning Progressions. Wellington: Learning Media.
  • Ministry of Education (2009). Learning Through Talk Oral Language in Years 1 to 3. Wellington: Learning Media.
  • Ministry of Education (2008). Making Language Learning Work (DVD) Cognition Consulting; University of Canterbury and Visual Learning.
  • Ministry of Education (2001). Building Science Concepts – Shadows – Effects of the Absence of Light 9 Wellington: Learning Media.
  • Ministry of Education (1999). Making Better Sense of the Physical World.
     Wellington: Learning Media.
  • Anderson, K. (1998) “Making a Shadow Clock”. Connected (1) 1998.

Teacher Resource Support

Online Teacher and Student Writing 

Other websites

Sidewalk Circus book, postcard and science activities

Printing this unit:

If you are not able to access the zipped files, please download the following individual files.

Published on: 23 Jan 2011