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Ministry of Education.

Learning task 2: Making shadows

    1. Explain that each student will use chalk to trace the outline of their partner's shadow on the playground.
    2. Remind students to never look directly at the sun, but to concentrate on the shadows.
    3. Have the students in pairs find a place in the sun and make shadows by standing, running, making body shapes, and so on.
      • Begin by outlining the partner's shoes or feet. This is important as the students are going to trace shadows at different times throughout the day.
      • Make sure that every student gets the opportunity to create a shadow. 

    When the students have completed the outside tracing, have them draw their partner, their partner's shadow, and the location of the sun.

    Model writing a caption for the shadow tracing. Have the students write a caption for their drawing. 

    NB Throughout the unit take digital photos of the students and shadows to use later for discussion and motivation for writing. Make into a book or a wall story "Our Book Of Shadows". 


    1. Two or three hours later (or the next day), after students have completed their first shadow tracings, have the students go outside again to observe their shadows and make a tracing of what they now see.
      • Ask students to predict if their second shadow tracings will be the same or different from the first shadows they drew. Record their predictions.
      • Return to the playground. Have the students reposition themselves in their original places, using their feet or shoe outlines as a guide.
    2. Discuss with students what they observed:
      • Did anything change?
      • What looked different?
      • How many shadows changed?
    3. Revisit previous predictions. Discuss how many students predicted correctly.
      • What do you think made the shadows?
      • How can you explain that?
      • Did the sun move?
      • Did we move? (Explain to students that shadows move as a result of the Earth's motion.)
       Teacher and students: What else have we learned and need to add to the KWL chart? Have we answered our first questions? Have we any new questions?

    Have students discuss the information they have discovered about their shadows' lengths and other observations on shadows made by the sun at various times during the day. Teacher and students work together to complete a table for this information and then write some concluding sentences. Read and display these in the class. 


    1. In the classroom have students observe the sun shining through the windows and look to see where shadows are being made. Ask the students to explain to each other, in pairs, why they think shadows happen.
    2. Students view this animated ARB resource on how shadow length changes as the sun moves into different positions. Teacher and students work together to the answer the questions.


    Using different objects encourage students to create, trace, and manipulate shadows.

    Encourage students to question: 

    • How can you "make" a shadow?
    • What is the light source?
    • How is the shadow similar to the object you used to make it? How is it different?
    • How can you change the size of your shadow?
    • How can you change the shape of your shadow?


Published on: 14 May 2009