Learn Shadow Science

What You Need:

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure

What You Do:

  1. Pick a morning when the sun is shining brightly. Before you head outside, sit down with your child and show them how to make a table so they can record their findings. Help your child write three different columns: Time of Day, Shadow Length, and Body Length.
  2. Make sure your child records the time of day in their table, then head outside.
  3. Now, have your child stand still while you trace their shadow on concrete with chalk, and help them label the tracing with "Shadow" and the time of day.
  4. Next, have them lie down on the sidewalk while you trace the outline of their body. Your child can label this tracing with "Body" and the time of day.
  5. Encourage your child to use the tape measure to find the length of each tracing, then record the measurements in their chart. Which one is longer? Explain to them that the length of the shadow depends on the location of the sun. The higher the sun is in the sky, the smaller their shadow will be.
  6. Repeat this process a few times throughout the day. Each time, have your child record the time, then compare the differences in length. Did the length of the shadow change? What about the length of their body? At what times was your child's shadow the shortest and the longest? Discussions like this help her build important critical thinking skills.

Did you know that the length of your shadow also changes with the seasons? Check out this activity for more shadow science fun.

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