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Shadow Play

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Keywords: shadows, groundhog, Groundhog Day, hibernate, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, SOCIAL STUDIES
Subject(s): Technology, Social Studies, Science
Grades K through 2
School: Gateway Elementary School, Saint Louis, MO
Planned By: Janice Watlington
Original Author: Janice Watlington, Saint Louis
Prior to the lesson, gather three or four small, lightweight distinct shaped objects; such as a key, a coin, a star, and an overhead projector. Situate the overhead projector out of the students’ view. This will ensure that the objects are not seen as they are placed on the glass. Position the focus arm to shine on a clear wall/board in a highly visible area.

Write February 2nd and Happy Groundhog Day on the board. Engage students in a discussion about Groundhog Day. Discuss the significance of the groundhog seeing its shadow. Ask children: What is a shadow? How does it look? How is it made? Accept all reasonable answers. Many students know that shadows are produced by sunlight but very few can explain what happens to light when a shadow is formed.

Explain to children that they are going to learn about shadows but first they will listen to a story about Groundhog Day, do a whole class shadow activity, and then create a match-the-shadow worksheet.

Read the story Ten Grouchy Groundhogs or Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day! Encourage students to listen with a purpose-does the groundhog see its shadow and if it does, what does it mean. Have students to use detail from the story to support answers.

Darken the room and direct the students’ attention to the wall/board. Place an object onto the overhead projector, turn on its light. Invite students to identify the object. If students are having difficulty identifying the object, provide clues as to its shape, its uses or where it’s found. Acknowledge accurate responses then show the object. Encourage students to make other observations about the object. Answers will vary but can include that shadows are similar in shape to the objects forming them. Place the next object onto the overhead. Again, invite students to guess. Continue this procedure with the remaining items.
Ask students why the projected objects were dark. Explain that as light travels from the sun or its source, it’s in a straight line, but when something is placed in the path of the light ray, it will absorb the light and form a shadow. Point out that the light from the projector was blocked by the objects and formed a shadow.

After all items are identified, instruct students to take a look at the interactive whiteboard. Display an example of a match-the-shadows worksheet; Farm Animal Shadow Match. Read the directions. Call on individual students to complete the worksheet at the whiteboard using the interactive pens.
Using the interactive whiteboard and the portable projector, model and demonstrate how to create the worksheet. Use the first me, then you approach. Some students will be able to go on without you.
1. Open a new document.
2. Enter the title “Shadow Play”; center.
3. Enter “by your name”; center.
4. Enter the directions “Draw a line from each object to its shadow.” left align.
5. Insert 2 identical clipart objects (absent of background color and no photographs) or insert one, text wrap it, and resize it before copying and pasting.
6. Using the text wrapping tool in the picture toolbar, choose ‘in front of text’ (this will allow easy placement).
7. Resize the pictures.
8. Darken one using the less brightness tool in the picture toolbar.
9. Click and drag the darken one on the right side of the document (use the farm animal match sheet as an example or create one to familiarize self with steps/tools and to use as a sample).
10. Insert 2 to 3 more pairs of identical objects; repeating steps 5-9.

Have students save worksheets in the appropriate folder (preferably a shared folder) for display on the interactive whiteboard. Call on other students to complete fellow classmates’ worksheets. Students may print a hardcopy to share with family.
Many youngsters know that shadows can be produced by sunlight, but very few can explain what happens to light when a shadow is formed. This lesson provides students a closer look at how light is extracted (using the less contrast tool on the picture toolbar) to produce a shadow.

Students and teacher must have knowledge of the word processing application and its components. Although this lesson is designed for a computer lab, it can be modified for use in a regular classroom using an overhead projector and transparencies and omitting students creating individual worksheets.
Complete Tigger’s Shadow Shapes
Links: "Link to Farm Animal Shadow Match"
"Link to Tigger’s Shadow Shapes"
Materials: Whiteboards, Portable, Projector Screens, Hard Drives, Printers, Power, Keyboards, Elementary, Word Processor, Internet Services, Clip Art
Other Items: 1 Teacher PA System, $152.00 each, total of $152.00