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Making Many Shadows

Use several flashlights to make multiple shadows.


  • flashlights, one per child
  • a medium-sized object (cup, block, can, etc.)
  • camera

Key Science Concepts

  • A shadow is created by an object blocking the light.
  • Each light source directed at an object will make a shadow.


Encourage children to use words like flashlight, shine, blocking, and direction. Emphasize science process words like describe, compare, observe, notice, record, predict, and experiment.


Tell children that today they will experiment with making shadows using several flashlights at the same time.

  1. Have children sit in a semicircle around an object you chose. Pass out the flashlights and dim the lights.
  2. As you say a name, have that child turn on a flashlight and shine it at the object. Ask children to point out the shadow.
  3. Have the first child continue to shine the light on the object, then ask the next child to turn on his or her flashlight and aim it at the object as well. How many shadows do the children see now?
  4. Continue in this manner until all children are shining their lights on the object. Each time let the group count how many shadows they see.

Take a few photos of the group with all flashlights turned on.

Reflect and Share

Discuss how the shadows changed while the children were using the flashlights. Ask,

  • Why were there more shadows each time?
  • If we want more shadows, what should we do?  
  • How could you tell which shadow each flashlight made?
  • Describe the way the different shadows looked. How did they look the same? How did they look different?