Shadow Science for Groundhog Day!

groundhogI am all about teachable moments.  I’d like to think when Allie asks me questions, I somehow incorporate science into my answer.  But then I have these moments of inspiration – especially around the holidays!  And what better holiday to teach my kids about shadows but Groundhog’s Day?!  This was also the perfect activity to start with the kids while I was making dinner (frozen pizza).  Hey, you do what you’ve got to do at 6:00pm!

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I made a quick shadow box using an old Amazon box and a flashlight.  I cut a hole big enough for a flashlight which made a “stage” for her plastic animals.  I love that Allie put a lamb and dinosaur standing under a giant heart together.  I’m so glad they can put away their “Jurassic Park” differences to play shadows.

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Of course, Allie got very excited about the flashlights in the dark so she decided to put on a fairy show.  She thought her fairy shadow was pretty neat.

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Andrew wanted to share in all the fun which meant sitting on the shadow box.

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Then we decided to put some white paper up as a screen so she could trace the shadows.  This time she made a scene with a lion, a lamb, and a cupcake.  Classic.

The Science:  Here are the things we discussed:

  • Shadows are made when an object blocks out light.
  • When the animals were close to the flashlight their shadows got bigger.
  • When the animals got farther away from the light, their shadows got smaller.
  • Then we talked about different ways shadows are made by the sun, like her shadow outside was when her body blocks the sunlight.
  • Finally, we talked about how a tree’s shadow makes shade when the tree blocks the sunlight.

The pizza was almost done cooking so I showed the kids this great video about Groundhog’s Day.  It’s super cute and I learned that woodchucks are groundhogs!  I had no idea, did you?  Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

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