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Friendly Shadows

Make shadow shapes with a partner.


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Key Science Concepts

  • You can change the shape of a shadow by moving and turning your body or the object making the shadow or by moving the light source.
  • You can combine shadows to make a different shape.


Encourage children to use words like sun, light, outline, shape, rotate, turn, and direction. Emphasize science process words like describe, compare, observe, notice, and experiment.


Tell children that they will be working with partners to make shapes by combining their shadows.

  1. Bring children outside and divide them into pairs. Ask them if they can make one large shadow using both of their shadows. Encourage children to move around and face different directions to make lots of different shapes.
  2. Ask children to try out some of the following challenges:
    • Can you and your partner make a shadow with three legs? With four arms?
    • Can you and your partner make your shadows touch hands, even if the two of you are not really touching hands?
    • Can you make your shadow hide inside your partner’s shadow?
    • Can you and your partner make your shadows cross while walking without bumping into each other?
    • Can you make your shadow stand on the head of your partner’s shadow?
  1. Photograph the children’s shadow creations and look at them together at a later time.

Reflect and Share

After you are back inside, have children describe one of the shadows that they created with their partner. Ask,

  • What shapes did you and your partner make with your shadows? How did you and your partner make these shapes?
  • Could you have made these shapes by yourself? Why not?


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