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Have Fun Learning About Shadows - A Pre K Lesson Plan

written by: Akili Amina • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 2/8/2012

This article will outline a Pre K shadow lesson to use in or out of the classroom. Teaching children about this scientific phenomenon that they take for granted each day will leave them amazed!

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    Safety Tip

    Safety First: Please instruct all students not to look directly into the Sun, as this could potentially cause blindness. This is an important fact to remember while they are participating in any of the outdoor exercises, and it is worth repeating as many times as necessary.

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    Pre K Shadow Lesson Objectives:

    There are three major objectives that this Pre K shadow lesson plan hopes each child will learn and master. These goals are age appropriate and will bring fun to the classroom:

    • Learn what makes a shadow.
    • Learn that shadows reflect the object in front of the Sun - be it a body, objects, or structures.
    • Learn how the sun moves during the day and how its position changes a shadow.
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    Prior Knowledge

    To ensure that each child has met the prerequisite required for this lesson, confirm that they all know what a shadow is. Have each of them explain in their own terms what they know about their own shadow. Have them each give a brief story from their earliest account. Ask them questions about shadows. For instance:

    • If you jump up and down, what will your shadow do?
    • What will happen if you wriggle your body?
    • What will your shadow do if you throw a ball to it?

    Allow them to answer you in their own unique way, while guiding them to what is the correct response to each question. This circle time is a great way to get them going for a tiny bit of exercise, as well. This is a awesome time to have them stop what they are doing with their own shadows and watch one of their classmates, interact with his or her shadow.

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    Suggested Books

    Sharing a story is a great way to incorporate your theme into Read Aloud time. Here is a list of suggested books to accompany the Pre K shadow lesson plan:

    • What Makes A Shadow? (Clyde Robert Bulla, June Otani)
    • Shadow Games (Editors of Klutz Press, Bill Mayer)
    • Moonbear's Shadow (Frank Asch)
    • Nothing Sticks Like A Shadow (Lynn Munsinger)

    These books make a great list of titles to work with, while you are creating a awesome learning experience for your preschool students. You can find all three for sale on Amazon.com, or you may even find them readily available at your local library.

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    Learning Through Play

    Suggested Activities:

    • While outside playing, have the children run around in a safe grassy area on a sunny day. Have them run around playing shadow tag. The object of this game is once you step on someone's shadow, they are "it". They should each take a turn being "it", so they all can experience everyone trying to catch up with their shadow.
    • Go out after your initial discussion on the shadow topic and have the children notate where your shadow is during that part of the day. Go out at least once more during the school day to allow them to see the change your shadow has made due to the sun rotating the Earth. Explain to the children why your shadow has moved and explain that the Sun is cause of this phenomenon.
    • Have your preschoolers sit down and turn down the lights in the room, you may need to close the blinds, as well. Hold up a sheet while having a flashlight shine through it. Show them basic shadow hand puppets such as;
      • The bunny: hold the first two fingers next to your thumb in a crooked, wide open V. This is his ears and make him hop moving your hands.
      • The dog: bend your pointy finger next to your thumb in half, your next two should remain straight and together, and the last one should make a V, off from the others. Animate your character, with a bark.
      • The swan: bend your thumb under all four fingers, which makes the swan's head and neck. Take your other hand and open all five fingers wide, right at the bend in your arm, this makes his feathers. Animate with honking noises.
    • Using sidewalk chalk, have a student stand up outside and outline their shadow on the payment or sidewalk. Have the other students talk about this child's silhouette and name his or her body parts.

    Note: When you go out the first time, while participating in the measuring activity, mark an X which should be the place that you stand each time you measure that day. Explain to the children that the reason your shadow is moving is because of the Earth rotating around the sun. Explain these dynamics in terms that their age group can understand. As a fun experiment for the exercise with the sheet, have the children close their eyes while you call two students away. You can allow one of them to stand behind the sheet and have the children guess which classmate it is.

    All in all, this Pre K shadow theme lesson plan should prove to be enjoyable to both you and your students. It should bring science to the classroom in a fun way.

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