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Lessons > Sun Lessons: Shadows

Sun Lessons

Day and Night | Seasons and Daylight | Shadows | Sun Shadows


Purpose: To experiment with shadows to identify what determines the length of the shadow and the direction it falls

Key Concepts:
Shadow fall opposite their light source
Height of the light source determines length of shadow

Multiple Intelligence: Spatial

Industrial flashlight

Have a student sit in a chair. Darken the room and using the industrial flashlight, have students identify where the shadow will fall when:

  • The light source is just above the students' head
  • The light source is slightly lowered
  • The light source is significantly lower
  • The light source is directly overhead

Relate their observations to the rising and setting of the Sun and using the Sun to tell time and/or to the amount of daylight their particular location receives during each season.

On the first day of Spring and Fall, at noon, the Sun is directly overhead. During any other time of year, at noon when the Sun is at it's highest point in the sky, the Sun is slightly to significantly rising in the northeast or southeast and setting in the northwest or southwest.

Questions to Ask:
Where would your shadow fall at noon on a Summer day?
2. In the summer, the Sun is more northern and the shadow will fall to the south.
3. Why is your shadow longer in winter?
4. In winter, the Sun is lower in the sky than any other time of year.
5. What time of year is your shadow the shortest?

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Learn more about the sun in the Phenomena section of the Bringing the Heavens to Earth module.

Learn more about the sun and shadows in the Multimedia section of the Bringing the Heavens to Earth module.


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