How does the the sun’s location change shadows?
How does the size of a shadow change?
How does the direction of a shadow change?
Procedure for Shadow Tracing Activity
- Trace the bottom of the object with sidewalk chalk so you can always place it in the same location.
- Trace the outside of the shadow using sidewalk chalk at varying times of the day.
- During each tracing session, have your child take note of where the sun is in the sky.
- In between chalk tracings, make predictions where you think the shadow will move, and what length it will be.
- Record observations in a science lab notebook.
- Where is the sun now? Where do you think it will be later in the day?
- Is the shadow on the same side as the sun or opposite of the sun?
- What time of day are shadows the longest?
- When are shadows the shortest?
Tips for a Successful Shadow Tracing Activity
However, that’s why we take photos, right? Next, pick one vantage point from which to take photos. Take the photo from the same spot each time. This allows for a good comparison when looking back at the photos later. Last, record your observations. There’s lots of ways to do this, but I suggest starting a Lab Notebook, even with early childhood students. My son is still learning to write, so he’ll dictate his predictions and observations. Maybe days later, I’ll have photos for him to label using his own handwriting. For this lab, he labeled shadow, morning, noon, and evening.
The Science Behind Shadows
Make a Sundial: Eye on the Sky has a wonderful lesson ideas for Using a Sundial to observe the change in shadows.
Make a Shadow/Silhouette Drawing: Kinder Art has directions on how to make art out of your child’s silhouette.
Read a Book: Moonbear’s Shadow
Dr. Darci–the STEM mom–is a traditionally trained science (and English) high school teacher and college professor having spent 16 years in public education, but is now a new homeschooling mom to her kindergarten son. Darci’s passion is helping people of all ages learn about the process of science, rather than the facts. In addition to doing science with young kids, she also volunteers at a Christian, all-boys boarding program for troubled teens. There, she facilitates hands-on inquiry-based STEM labs twice a week. She posts the activities she does with her own kids, and also the labs done with the “older boys” on her blog, STEMmom. Darci is also the author of the NSTA Press book, “STEM Student Research Handbook” which guides students through a long-term STEM research project. You can connect with Darci on Facebook, Twitter, or Google +.
I always love Darci’s posts! She always offers such a large range of lessons and activities for a wide range of ages and skill levels. For me personally I am not mathematically or scientifically inclined so I often lean on my husband for guidance and help in these subjects. Darci has given our family a true gift in the many lessons, techniques and ideas that I have been able to implement into our homeschool. If you have not started following her site I highly suggest hopping on over to STEMmom and signing up today!