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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
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Science topics ages 7 - 8
Light and shadows

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity |
Offline lesson plan


Observe and record the appearance of shadows and how their position and shape changes during the course of the day

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Science, Sc4 3a, 3b

Wales: Key Stage 2, Physical processes, 3.1, 3.5

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Physical processes, Light, b

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Properties and uses of energy, Level C

Resources required

Copies of the Light and shadows worksheet printed from the Science Clips website

Teaching activities

Allow children to measure and record the length of a partner's shadow at different intervals during the day. In pairs, the children should find a place in the playground where their shadow can be seen. Ask them to draw around their shadows with chalk every hour, say from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock. Ask questions of their observations. At what time was your shadow the shortest? At what time was your shadow the longest? What length was the shadow at midday? Did your shadow increase or decrease in length between midday and 2 o'clock? Did the length of the shadow increase or decrease the same amount between 10 o'clock and 11 o'clock as it did between 1 o'clock and 2 o'clock? Can you predict the length of the shadow at half past one?

Hand out copies of the worksheet, one per child. Remind children of their shadow work in the playground, and tell them they must draw in the shadow of the stick in each of the six pictures. Remind them to look carefully at the position of the sun in each picture. Once the children are confident about what they have been asked to do, let them complete the worksheet independently.

Repeat the questions asked about the children's shadows in the lesson introduction in relation to the worksheet to reinforce learning and make connections.


Ask children to draw a bar chart from their measurements of the lengths of their shadows. They should then devise questions based on the chart for others to answer.

Suggested homework

Ask children to draw the shadows they can see from their window at home at different times of the day. Shadows can be recorded on the same drawing and labelled with the time of day. Encourage children to explain the effect in a paragraph to reinforce learning from the session.


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