Changing Shadows

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In this sunny day, outdoor activity, learners observe changes in shadows over time. The activity also helps to develop a sense of the Earth's motion. Since this activity requires some passage of time for a noticeable change in shadows, it is best done at the beginning of an event or a series of activities so learners can revisit their tracings after a period of time. At museum or planetarium settings, this might be a good activity to set up at the entrance for visitors to do at the beginning and end of their visit.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • a sunny area with smooth flat, ground surface
  • sidewalk chalks or sticks for tracing, depending on the ground surface of your location


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
    • Earth Structure
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
      • The Moon
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities