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Shadow Dance

Source Institutions

    The Center for Science Education @ Space Sciences Laboratory, UC Berkeley

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Shadow Dance

In this activity, learners experiment with shadows and light sources to understand the relationship between the angle illumination and the shadow's length. Learners create a testing tool out of two pieces of cardboard and a toothpick. Then, learners shine a flashlight on the toothpick to create a shadow line. They experiment by moving the flashlight, toothpick, or using sunlight to change the direction and length of the shadow.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 tube of glue or roll of tape
  • 1 large piece of posterboard
  • 1 small piece of cardboard or Styrofoam
  • 1 toothpick
  • 1 flashlight


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


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

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Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, UC Regents, ©2001


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