Shadow Walk

Identify shadows we see outside every day.

Materials

  • clipboard, paper, and pencil
  • camera
  • chart paper labeled “Our Ideas About Shadows”

Key Science Concepts

  • A shadow is created by an object blocking the light.
  • You can make shadows with your body and other objects.
  • Shadows appear differently when they fall on different surfaces.

Vocabulary

Encourage children to use words related to shadows, like sun, outline, and shape. Emphasize science process words like notice, observe, describe, and compare.

Directions

Tell children that they will go for a walk and notice different shadows.

  1. Before heading outside, ask children to predict what kinds of shadows they will see. Take the camera and clipboard with you on the walk to record the children’s experiences.
  2. As you take your walk, have children search for shadows made by bushes, parked cars, bikes, telephone poles, etc. Ask children to describe these shadows and take photos of the ones they find the most interesting. 
  3. Challenge children to find the biggest and smallest shadows they can. What objects make these shadows? Are they big, small, or somewhere in between? Take photos and write down the children’s observations.
  4. Have children look for surfaces with different textures, like a fence, stairs, a bench, rocks, or a wall. Ask, How would you describe the shadows on these surfaces? (Bumpy, broken, bent, etc.)
  5. Have children compare the shadows they saw to the things that made them. Ask, Do the shadows you saw look just like the thing that made them? How are they similar? How are they different?

Reflect and Share

When you get back inside, review some of the observations and comments children made during the walk and ask them to think about what they think a shadow is. Then fill out the chart together, “Our Ideas About Shadows.”