You will need to do this activity in the dark with the lights off. We provide seven different Shadow Patterns, so we recommend setting up seven stations. You can choose to set up fewer stations depending on your space or the number of flashlights that you have available.
Set Up Activity Stations
For each station:
- Cut out one of the paper gnomes. Fold on the solid lines at his feet and the tip of his hat.
- Overlap the flaps at the gnome’s feet and tape him to the rectangle on one of the Shadow Patterns.
- Tape the Shadow Pattern down to a table or desk.
- Put a flashlight beside the gnome.
Find a Sunny Spot (Recommended)
If it’s sunny, you can watch how a shadow cast by the Sun changes over time—just by marking a shadow early in the lesson and checking on it later.
For this extension:
- Cut out one paper gnome. Fold on the solid lines at his feet and the tip of his hat.
- Overlap the flaps at the gnome’s feet and tape him to a blank sheet of paper.
- Tape the blank sheet of paper down to a table or desk that will be in the Sun for the whole time you are teaching the lesson.
- Outline the gnome’s shadow with a marker and write down the time in the center of the outline.
If it’s cloudy when you teach, don’t worry. We show the experiment in the video. You can watch the video and try the experiment yourself on a day when the Sun is out.