Duration
of Activity:
30
minutes.
Student
Prerequisites:
Students should:
 Have
prior exposure to the topic of the Sun through reading and
discussion.
 Have
basic understanding of what shadows are and how they are
created. A good storybook to introduce this topic to young
students is Bear Shadow by Frank Asch. Refer also
to the nonfiction reading list on related subjects.
Materials:
 Pencil
and crayons
 Chalk
 Student
work sheet
 Lamp
with 200 watt bulb and shade removed
Teacher
Preparation:
Locate a sunny area for students
to draw. Allow time to collect materials and duplicate work
sheets.
Work
Sheets:
"What
Makes Shadows" Work Sheets 


Need
help? 
View Completed Student Work Sheets 



Objectives:
Students
will:
 Make
accurate drawings of a classmate’s shadow.
 Note
position of the Sun in the sky.
 Be
able to identify a connection between the direction of the
shadow and location of the Sun.
 Observe
changes in shadows over time.
 Develop
an elementary understanding of the Earth's motion.
Grade
Level:
Grades 13
Procedure:
In the classroom
 Begin
the discussion of shadows by asking students what they about
them. These points can be listed on the "What we Know"
section of a "Shadows" KWL chart. Students may
bring up the following points:
 It
is very dangerous to look at the Sun.
 We
NEVER look directly at the Sun!

The Sun creates shadows.
 We
all make shadows.
 If
there is sunshine, there will be shadows.
 Without
the Sun, we would not have shadows.
 If
the Sun is shining behind us, we will see our shadows
in front of us.
 A
shadow happens when an object (or a person) gets between
the Sun and the surface of the Earth.

Ask students if they have any questions about shadows. List
34 of them on the "What we Want to Know" section
of the KWL chart.
 Explain
that students will be going outside to observe shadows and
make drawings of what they see.
 Ask
for a student volunteer help you demonstrate how to trace
a shadow.
 Turn
on the lamp, turn off the overhead lights, and ask students
to observe the student's shadow being cast in the classroom.
Ask them where the light source is and where the shadow
is cast.
 Explain
that the Sun is similar to the light and discuss the location
of the shadow.
 Demonstrate
how to trace the shadow by following the outline of the
student's shadow with your finger.
 Explain
that each student will use chalk to trace the outline of
his or her partner’s shadow on the playground.
 Tell
students that after the tracing is complete, they can use
pencils to draw their partner, his or her shadow, and the
location of the Sun on their work sheets.
 Remind
students NEVER to look directly at the Sun.
 After
students have drawn on their work sheets they can add more
detail in the classroom with crayons.
 You
may find it useful to print out a sample of student work
sheet to show your students.
Outdoor
handson Activity
 Remind
students again, NEVER to look directly at the Sun, but to
concentrate on the shadows.
 In
pairs, students spread out over the yard. Distribute chalk.
 Ask
students to position themselves to make shadows.
 Begin
tracing by outlining partner's shoesthis is especially
important if doing the extension activity in this lesson.
 As
students complete the shadow tracing with chalk on the playground
surface, distribute the work sheet.
 Make
sure that each student gets the opportunity to create a
shadow and also document the shadow of a classmate.
Extension
Activity: Changing Shadows
 Two
or three hours after students have completed their first
shadow tracings, explain that they will go outside again
to observe their partner's shadow and make tracings of what
they see.
 Ask
students to predict if the second shadows will be the same
as or different from the first shadows they drew.
 Ask
for a show of hands and take a tally of students' predictions.
 Return
to the playground and ask students to find their shadows.
Distribute chalk. Remind students again, NEVER to look directly
at the Sun, but to concentrate on the shadows.
 Have
students reposition themselves in their original locations,
using their shoe outlines as a guide.
 Ask
students to complete the second shadow tracing.
 If
time allows, redistribute student work sheets and have students
add the second shadow.
 The
following questions can guide a discussion of what students
observed:
 Did
anything change in your tracings? What looks different?
 How
many of your shadows moved? Tally raised hands. Review the
tally taken in the morning and see how many students predicted
correctly.
 What
do you think made the shadows move? How can you explain
that?
 Did
the Sun move? Did we move? (Of course, we moved! Explain
to students that shadows move as a result of the Earth's
motion.)
 Ask
students what else they have learned and want to add to
their KWL chart. Place any new questions on the chart and
check if any previous questions can now be answered!
 "What
Makes Day and Night" is a good lesson for explaining
the Earth's rotation more fully. For older students, "Making
a Sundial" allows exploration of changing shadows
as a means of telling time.
Assessment:
Use the "What Makes Shadows"
work sheet to assess your students’ work.
Bibliography:
See
related books and websites.
