Tracing Shadows

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Fall 2009-Day 2
Light Activities
Playing With Shadows
Orientation to the Sky

While in the parking lot, the students trace their shadows. They write down the time that they traced their shadows, and they make a prediction of what their shadow might look like in two hours.

After two hours pass, the students return to the same exact spot in the parking lot where they originally traced their shadows. The students trace their shadows and record the time for a second time. Upon looking at the two shadows they have traced, students typically observe that their second shadow is much shorter and it is at a different angle than the first shadow.


Student Reflection: “The shadows we traced of ourselves became shorter and changed direction from 9:30 AM to 11:40 AM. Our heads were pointed West at 9:30, but they ended up being pointed to the North-West by 11:40.”

From these observations, students can then begin thinking about WHY their shadow looks different. They often make new sky journal observations and note that not only is their shadow in a different location, but the sun is too. This observation allows students to understand that the orientation of the sun (light source) affects the way we see shadows.

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