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Cameras and Shadows


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Keywords: Shadows, Science, Photography, Visual Learning
Subject(s): Art, Technology, Geography, Writing, Reading, Earth Science, Photography, English/Language Arts, Science
Grades K through 8
School: Mary C Williams Elem School, Wilmington, NC
Planned By: Lisa Vail
Original Author: Lisa Vail, Wilmington
Outline of activities:
1. Engage students with poem about shadows – My Shadow by Robert Luis Stevenson.
2. What do students know about shadows?
3. Nonfiction Read Aloud/Shared Reading about Shadows
4. Shadow search with cameras – Teach students to use cameras on a shadow walk around the school. Come back to classroom to talk about shadows, display pictures on Smartboard to talk about pictures and shadows.
5. Does time matter with shadows? Model and discuss suns position in sky using flashlight and object. Make sure students know “high,” “low,” “in front,” or “behind” positions in relation to student.
6. Activity:
Working with partners, students will go outside twice during this activity to observe their shadow and record data in their science notebooks.
Visit 1 - Students will:
1. Record the time of visit
2. Record sun’s location in sky and nearby landmarks
3. Trace footprints and around shadow with chalk
4. Measure and record length and width of shadow.
5. Take photograph of student and shadow
6. Upload photograph and record observations
7. Make prediction for visit 2
8. Partners trade positions in a different location.
Visit 2 – Students will:
1. Same as 1 –6 above using different color chalk. The same student should stand in the same drawn footprints.
7. Share observations and discuss whether the shadow changed and use photographs as evidence to support their findings.
8. Discuss changes in the length of the shadow. Create a class table showing the difference in the length of the shadows.
9. Make predictions about how the Sun’s position might change throughout the seasons.

10. Connect shadows and times to sundials. Look at pictures of sundials and read about it.
11. Ask students if they could tell the time without a clock. Discuss possible issues with telling time from sundial.
12. Discuss terminology “clockwise” and “gnomon”. Make sure students understand directions.
13. Activity - Use the sun to make observations of time using shadows.
Student partners will:
a. Tie the piece of chalk to the end of the string.
b. One student holds the string in a fixed position on the ground while another pulls the yarn tight and draws a circle with a 3m radius. Mark the center of the circle with a chalk dot.
c. Using a compass, find north and write it at outside the circle. Label south, west and east as well. Draw an east west line through the circle.
d. Get one student to be the gnomon and have them stand straight as possible in the middle of the circle facing north. The other students need to look for the shadow cast by the gnomon.
e. Choose another student to mark the current time on the circle, where the shadow of the student gnomon has or would cross the circle. Make sure this line is perpendicular to the circumference of the circle. Use the chalk to label this mark with the current time.
f. Students photograph and gnomon and record time in photograph.
g. Students should predict where the gnomon shadow will be in an hour.
Throughout the day continue to go and view the shadow as well as mark it on the ground and take a photograph to record time. Label each new mark with the current time. Continue to make predictions about what it will look like next. Each time the mark should be farther east along the circle than the previous one.

14. Share sundial experience with group.
15. Students will create book from sundial photographs and detail with time and observations in Photo Story.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson includes cross-curricular ideas including "front-loading" through poetry and non-fiction readings as well as including making predictions through writing and analyzing and adapting these predictions.
Follow-Up
Students will complete a book of their shadow knowledge and include their predictions, outcomes and photographs.
Materials: Point and Shoot, Flash/USB Drives