The Sun & Shadows

The Sun & Shadows (Grade 1)

In this program allows you and your students to explore the beauty and behavior of shadows. Students become familiar with the relationship between a light source and the shadow created by an object. Students can build on this knowledge to understand the motion and appearance of objects in the current sky. We’ll use the planetarium to explore shadows in the sky, out in space and even to create artwork!  

Warm Up & Pre-Assessment
  • What are shadows? 
  • Can you pick up a shadow? 
  • Can your shadow become detached for you? 
  • If you shadow is detached from you, can you sew it back on? 
  • When do you have a shadow? 
  • Why does there have to be a bright light to have a shadow? 
  • Where does your shadow appear? Is this connected to where the light is coming from? 
  • Can you ever have more than one shadow? 
  • How do you make a shadow bigger? Smaller? 
  • How does a shadow move if the light sources moves? 
  • How does a shadow move if the object moves? 

  • Light Source
  • Flashlights 
  • Large Earth Globe 
  • Large Easel Paper 
  • Tall Cups
  • Meter sticks
  • Colored markers
Planetarium Program Description

Students will make observations of the position and movement of the sun through the day. We’ll note where the sun appears and disappears and its height in the sky. We’ll look at the sun as a source of light and heat. Traveling above the Earth we’ll look at the shadows on the Moon and other planets in our solar system. 

Using the planetarium dome, students will create large shadows on the dome using a variety of materials.  Then working in pairs, they will study the change in shadows to create Shadow Art using objects, a light source and large paper.  


Light: A type of energy released by many objects. Light always travels in a straight-line. Light comes in many colors including colors humans can’t see.
Light Source: Any object that gives off light.
Shadow (1): The area where light can’t directly shine because an opaque object lies between the area and the source of the light.
Shadow (2): The image cast by an object blocking rays of light.
Ray: The straight path indicating how light travels from its source to its destination

Key Points of Understanding
  • Many objects give off light. 
  • Objects give off light because they are hot (candles, light bulbs, fires, etc.) 
  • Light travels in a straight line until it shines on an object. 
  • Light can be blocked by an object (absorbed or reflected) creating a shadow. 
  • Shadows are always on the side of an object away from the source of light.