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Authors

Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point K-12 Energy Education Program

Grades

K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

Subjects

Science, English Language Arts, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 50 minutes
  • Activity - Outdoors
  • Worksheets
  • Assessments

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Midwest, Wisconsin

Format

PDF

Shadows in the Schoolyard

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Synopsis
  • In this lesson, students determine what happens to shadows throughout the day, why shadows vary in length depending on the time, and why shadows disappear at times.
  • Students will record their measurement data on the chart and explore the reasons behind the data.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This lesson provides many extension activities for students to expand on and present their knowledge about the sun's position in the sky and the impact it has.
  • This is an inquiry-based lesson, which will allow students to take pride in knowledge they have discovered through experimentation.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The lesson calls for students to write in their energy learning logs. This is something that will need to be prepared prior to starting this lesson.
  • Students should understand that the Earth's rotation changes the placement of the sun in the sky.
  • The assessment portion references an energy flow mural, which is not included or explained in this lesson plan.

Differentiation

  • Students can talk about how the changing placement of the sun in the sky may impact the use of solar energy, and the solution to this. Students may also want to discuss wind energy, which is also driven by the energy of the sun.
  • Students in math classes can create graphs to show the length of the shadows at various times in the day or answer math questions to compare two different lengths at different times.
  • Students in language arts classes can write a play or story about the mystery of the disappearing shadow. They can also read other mysteries to get an understanding of the genre.
  • Students can either use standard measurements of length or measure with string or other objects, so long as all students use the same practice for each shadow.
  • Advanced students can connect this phenomenon with the orbit of the Earth, tilt of the Earth, and seasons.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a classroom activity from Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP) that tasks students with observing shadows and how they change in time. The activity clearly guides students through how to measure shadow length and direction at multiple times throughout the day, and a table is included to help tabulate results. Several extension activities are included and the resource takes great care to help students notice trends as days and seasons progress. This resource is an educational and fun outdoor activity and is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe
      • 1-ESS1-1 Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Language (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.4.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.3 With prompting and support, describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.3 Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.1.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.3 Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.5 Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
    • Reading: Literature (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.2 Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.3 Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.4 Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.3 Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.4 Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.5 Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.6 Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.2 Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4 Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.6 Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.6 Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.5 Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.1 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is...).
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.2 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.3 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.3 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Measurement & Data (K-5)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.2 Measure the length of an object twice, using length units of different lengths for the two measurements; describe how the two measurements relate to the size of the unit chosen.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.3 Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.4 Measure to determine how much longer one object is than another, expressing the length difference in terms of a standard length unit.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.B.5 Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve word problems involving lengths that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as drawings of rulers) and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
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    Reviews

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    • Shadows have always fascinated me, so this resource is a must have! 😊😊
      8 months ago