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Ministry of Education.

What makes a shadow?

Teacher Anne Girven





3 2 3 weeks


Achievement Objective Being Assessed

Learning Outcomes

Transactional Writing  Write explanations about shadows, state facts and opinions and recount events.
Making Sense of the Physical World  Explore shadows at different times of the day.


 Processing Information  Identify, record and present information about shadows.
Explain how a shadow is made at different times of the day.

Supporting Achievement Objective

Learning Outcomes

 Close Reading  Respond to language, meanings and ideas in different explanatory texts relating them to personal experiences.
 Interpersonal Listening/Speaking  Listen to and interact with others. Ask questions and talk about personal experiences in a group.


Teacher background reading

Teaching and learning activities

Select and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available:

Set up a learning centre. Collect pictures of shadows, books from school library and National Library, photos and magazines of different types of shadows. Display a vocabulary chart and add to this throughout the unit eg shadow, shine, sun, cloud, sky, creating, behind, in front, positions.

Learning task 1

Learning task 2

Learning task 3


Student Writing - Explanations

Students work in groups to show and explain the different shadows they have made. Encourage students to talk about what they have found out about shadows. Reread the modeled writing. Students brainstorm and draft their own explanation "How is a shadow made?" and illustrate with a sketch of someone/something and its shadow.

Conference with the teacher. Edit and proofread (RTF 4KB) .

Students complete the checklist (RTF 14KB) . Some students may need teacher assistance.

Self Assessment

Teacher models the self_assessment (RTF 230KB) . Each student completes the self assessment. Some students may need teacher assistance.

schedule (RTF 7KB)



  • School Journals - Explanations:
    • Ber - Bang! Bang! 1994 Part 1 No. 1
    • Fossils 1993 Part 2 No. 4
  • Derewianka, B. (1990). Exploring How Texts Work. Sydney: Primary Teaching Association
    • Explanations (p 57)
    • Summary of Text Features (p 60-62)
    • Use of Nouns - Explanations (p 64-65)
  • Wing Jan, L. (1991) Write Ways: Modelling Writing Forms. Melbourne: Oxford University Press
    • Explanations/Learning Experiences (p 50)
    • Activities Explanations (p 52-57)
  • Ministry of Education (1996). The Learner as a Reader. NZ: Learning Media.
    • Explanations - features (p 114)
    • Transactional Texts (p 112)
  • Knapp, P. & Watkins, W. (1994) Context - Text - Grammar. NSW: Text productions
    • Explanations (p 76-77)
    • Structure of Explanations (p 78-80)
    • Structure and Grammar (p 86-87)
    • Scaffolding (p 87)
    • Grammatical Features (p 81-83)
    • Tips for Teaching Explanations (p 85)

Follow up

Published on: 14 May 2009