Grade Range
3rd
Group Size
2-4 students
Active Time
Part 1: 50 min, Part 2: at least 1 hr 15 min
Total Time
Part 1: 50 min, Part 2: at least 1 hr 15 min
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
Light, shadow
Learning Objectives
  • Explain, with evidence, that opaque objects block light and cast a shadow.
  • Understand how the size and shape of a shadow can be manipulated.
  • Collaboratively create and tell a story using shadow puppets.
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies

Overview

Everybody and everything that is opaque has a shadow. Shadows are fun to play with because you can change their shape and size or even make them disappear. In this lesson, students will first explore how shadows are made and how their appearance can be changed. Then students will use their gained knowledge to create and perform a shadow play.

Remote learning: Part 1 on this lesson plan can be conducted remotely. The Engage section of the lesson can be done over a video call, then students can work individually and independently during the Explore section of Part 1, using the Student Worksheet as a guide. Students might need a helper that holds the shadow puppet for them while they move the flashlight. A set of materials can be prepared in advance or students can use materials found around the house. End the lesson with a discussion over a video call during the Reflect section. You can encourage students to come up with a story for a shadow play, but it might be challenging for them to perform the play by themselves.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Planning and Carrying out Investigations. Plan and conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer a question.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data. Use observations (firsthand or from media) to describe patterns and/or relationships in the natural and designed world(s) in order to answer scientific questions and solve problems.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Construct an argument with evidence to support a claim.
PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation. Some materials allow light to pass through them, others allow only some light through and others block all the light and create a dark shadow on any surface beyond them, where the light cannot reach. Mirrors can be used to redirect a light beam.
Cause and Effect. Simple tests can be designed to gather evidence to support or refute student ideas about causes.

Materials


Materials needed for the 'Explore Shadows with aShadow Play' lesson.

Materials per Student Group of 2–4:

  • Light source, such as a flashlight or spotlight
  • Blank wall
  • Dim room
  • Cardstock
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Wooden skewers or craft sticks (5)
  • Clear tape
  • Optional: Printed Shadow Puppet Template

Materials for Educator:

  • Two opaque objects with different shapes that completely block the light

Optional - For Shadow Puppet Theater Option 1:

  • Door frame or other space (ceiling) from which to hang a shadow screen
  • Shadow screen: White sheet, cloth, or white drawing paper roll
  • Large piece of cardboard to cover students behind the screen
  • Safety pins or tape

Optional - For Shadow Puppet Theater Option 2:

  • Large cardboard box
  • Utility knife
  • White drawing paper roll or parchment paper
  • Tape

Reviews

|
Science Buddies |
Was this review helpful?
Be the first one to review this lesson plan.
Grade Range
3rd
Group Size
2-4 students
Active Time
Part 1: 50 min, Part 2: at least 1 hr 15 min
Total Time
Part 1: 50 min, Part 2: at least 1 hr 15 min
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
Light, shadow
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
Learning Objectives
  • Explain, with evidence, that opaque objects block light and cast a shadow.
  • Understand how the size and shape of a shadow can be manipulated.
  • Collaboratively create and tell a story using shadow puppets.
Free science fair projects.