Shadow Playby: Kathy Cabe Trundle and Margilee P. Hilson

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Students observe shadows through various activities and at the same time, learn about seasonal change.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (2)
  • on Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:06 PM

Two basic earthly processes, the changing of the seasons and lengths of shadows, have been combined in this article to support understanding (and clear up misconceptions) about these naturally occurring phenomena. Fourth and fifth graders explore how the lengths of shadows change over the course of a day; next they note seasonal and latitude variations. Then, with the help of a commercial software program like Starry Night Backyard (or a free download like Stellarium), students observe the sun’s apparent path through different seasons of the year. There is a strong graphing component to this set of lessons. There is a connection to literature, as well; the authors incorporate Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, “My Shadow” into one of the lessons. It is necessary to have access to computers in order to complete the data collecting for the graphing. I have used both Starry Night Backyard and Stellarium, and I agree with the authors that these are excellent software options for teaching these concepts.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

  • on Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:29 PM

This article has so many great ideas. I love activities where we can take kids outside and have it be an extension of the classroom. The activity of tracing shadows on the playground in chalk sounds like so much fun. What a great pairing activity! I look forward to using this in my future classroom.

Stacey  (Pocatello, Idaho)
Stacey (Pocatello, Idaho)

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