considering the science of sunlight and shadows

Wondering why our shadows change during the day ...

Katonah Elementary School fifth graders in Lynn Garofolo’s class observed the connection between the sun, the earth and their shadows in an unusual way—by playing Shadow Tag outside at different times of the school day!

Unlike real tag, no one touches each other; instead, only shadows touch shadows. The students found it was much harder to tag someone at noon—their shadows were so much smaller.

Shadow Tag!

They captured their observations on white boards around the classroom

A “gallery walk” allows each group to share their learnings with others

some of the obserservations

The presence of the sun creates shadows.
Shadows change during the day because of the earth’s rotation.
The flagpole’s shadow changes during the day.
Your shadow is bigger in the morning.

Science in action inspires excitement

What students discover about the patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky, was reinforced in a dramatic way by a field trip to the Hudson River Museum and Planetarium. 

“My students are so excited about science,” said Garofolo. “They love it.”