- Grades: Early Childhood, PreK–K, 1–2
Bear Shadow by Frank Asch. Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow by Ann Trompert. Background: 1. Some materials allow light to pass through them, and some materials do not. 2. Transparent materials, such as clear glass, allow nearly all the light to pass through. If you look through a piece of clear glass you see a clear image. 3. Translucent materials, such as wax paper, filter the light that passes through them. If you look through a piece of wax paper, images appear fuzzy. 4. Opaque materials block all of the light. You cannot see anything through opaque materials. 5. In order to create a shadow you need a source of light, an opaque object (something that blocks light), and somewhere for the shadow to fall. Literature Tie-Ins: Henry and the Dragon by Eileen Christelow (Clarion Books, 1984, F) Me and My Shadow by Arthur Dorros (Scholastic Hardcover, 1990, NF) My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1990, F) Shadows Are All About by Ann Witford Paul (Scholastic, 1992, NF) Mr. Wink and His Shadow, Ned by Dick Gackenbach (Harper & Row Publishers, 1983, F) I Have a Friend by Keiko Narahushi (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1987, F) Bear Shadow by Frank Asch (Simon and Schuster, 1985, F). Bear's shadow gets in his way when he is trying to catch a fish. What can Bear do to get rid of his shadow? Activities: 1. Each child will need to make a cardboard or stiff paper figure that will be cut out and used to cast a shadow following the directions below. Any shape figure will do; e.g., gingerbread people, teddy bears, etc. . . Each child will also need a pencil, a thread spool, and adhesive tape. Using tape, they attach the figure to the eraser end of the pencil. Then they support the figure by inserting the pointed end of the pencil into the thread spool. Ask the children what they think will happen when the figure is placed in the sun. Record their guesses. Take the children outside on a sunny morning. Have them place large sheets of paper on the ground. Ask the children to place their supported figure on the paper. Using crayon, markers, or chalk the children then trace the shadows onto the paper. Repeat the activity at noon and 2 p.m. Ask the children to describe how the figure's shadow changed during the day. 2. Ask the children what they can do to "get rid" of the shadow made by the figure. They can try using assorted materials (construction paper, a clear material such as a transparency or clear plastic wrap, wax paper, or tracing paper) to block the shadow. Ask the children to describe what happens when they try to block the light with each of the materials. 3. Have the children sort the materials they used to try to block the shadow into three groups: materials that block all of the light, materials that block some of the light, and materials that do not block any of the light. 4. Children can explore the relationship between the position of the light source and the shape of the shadow by attaching a 45 cm piece of string to the neck of a flashlight. Give the children the following materials and instructions: Place a piece of paper on your work surface. Use a piece of clay to attach a short pencil to the center of the piece of paper. With a thumb, hold the loose end of the string on the work surface beside the pencil. Hold the flashlight parallel to the work surface, yarn stretched tightly. Be sure the flashlight is on. Slowly move the flashlight in an arc over the pencil from one side to the other. Observe the changes in the pencil shadow. Use crayons to record the length and location of the shadows. Describe the changes you observe. 5. Early humans used shadows to tell the time of day. Shadows appear long in the morning, shrink toward midday, and then grow longer until dusk. Ask children to record the location and length of the shadow formed by the flagpole at 9 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. Students can also measure the shadow cast by their pencils in the thread spool. 6. Distribute copies of the reproducible activity sheet. Follow the directions on the sheet. Curriculum Crossovers:1. The children can write stories about their shadows. Possible topics are: How their shadow became attached to them. The time their shadow got away or they lost it. 2. Help the children look through catalogs and find pictures of various window coverings. Look for some that are light-blocking such as dark shades, some that are light-filtering such as some vertical blinds. How much light does each material allow to pass through? Take a Trip: 1. Encourage children to go on a moonlight walk with an adult. How many different shadows can they find? What is making each shadow? Where is the light coming from? Have the children share their moonlight walk information in class. 2. Visit the site of a sundial. Examine how the sundial works.