Science project

Made In The Shade

Difficulty Level




Safety Issues


Material Availability

All necessary materials are readily available.

Project Time Frame

4-6 weeks


This project deals with the qualities of shade on a sunny day.  

The goals of this project are: 

  1. To determine outdoor temperature differences.
  2. To examine different types of shade.
  3. To outline the practical applications of differently shaded areas. 

Materials and Equipment  

  • Computer with internet access.
  • Digital camera
  • Several outdoor thermometers.
  • Calculator
  • Typical office/craft supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board) 

All materials can be found in local stores or on ebay. 


Shade is the shadow that’s created when an object blocks sunlight from hitting another object. On hot sunny days we seek the shadows cast by various objects around us, such as buildings or trees. This project explores the qualities of shade, and how types of shade differ from one another. 

Research Questions 
  • What’s the temperature difference between shade and direct sunlight?
  • What (if any) is the temperature difference between different types of shade?
  • What are the practical uses of different types of shade?
  • Do people prefer one kind of shade over another? Why or why not? 
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research 
  • Climate control
  • Shade / Shadow
  • Sunlight 

Experimental Procedure 

  1. Read overviews of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above).
  2. Select 3 or 4 locations, close to each other: one area shaded by a man-made structure, one area shaded by a tree (or 2 areas, each shaded by a different type of tree), and one area in direct sunlight.
  3. Place a thermometer in each location (thermometers should be of the same kind)
  4. Check temperatures at regular intervals. Be sure shady places stay shady during temperature measurements.
  5. Carefully record all observations and measurements. 
  6. Repeat the above process on another day, under the same conditions and in the same locations, but switch the thermometers around.
  7. Have blindfolded volunteers spend one minute in each shady area, with at least one minute of exposure to direct sunlight in between. Best if experimental area is hidden from the view of volunteers until after the trials.
  8. Ask volunteers which (if any) type shade they preferred.
  9. Analyze the data.
  10. Interpret your findings in a detailed report.
  11. Show results visually using charts and graphs.
  12. Display any interesting photos taken throughout the course of the experiment. 

Bibliography (all about shade trees)

Internet searches of your own choosing: Do a Google or Yahoo search for any of the terms listed above, and click on any results that interest you. Have fun surfing the net!

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Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

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