Experimenting with Shadows

Where do shadows come from? Do they stay the same all the time? Do they move? Why? Try this experiment to see if you will be able to answer these questions.

Messy level: 1
(5 = Super messy. 1 = Not messy at all.)


  • Large sheet of white paper
  • Pencil, marker or a pen
  • 2″ to 3″ tall object that can stand on it’s own
  • Tape
  • Clock, watch of mobile phone (to record time)
  • Large flat surface
  • A mostly sunny day! 🙂


1. Go outside and find a safe, non-shady area.

2. Set up your flat surface with your paper taped to it so it won’t blow away if the wind starts to blow a little.

3. Place your object on the paper and trace the bottom of the object on the paper with a pencil. Then if your object is bumped or falls over, you can put it back exactly where it was.

4. You should see a shadow from your object on your paper. Trace the outline of the shadow on the paper and write down what time it was when you traced it.

5. Find something else to do for a little while then come back after 30 minutes or an hour.

6. Did anything change? Think about why. Where is the sun? Is it cloudy now? If there is a new shadow coming from your object, trace it and write the new time next to it.

7. After every 30 minutes or an hour come back and check on your experiment. Trace and new shadows along with the time that you traced them. At the end of the day look at all of the shadow outlines. Did they all look the same? Why do you think they look different if they do? Think about where the sun was during the day. Was it always in the same spot or did it move? Talk about it with you grown-up. What do they think? Will the same pattern happen tomorrow? Grab some more paper and find out!!

– from the scientific mind of Miss Jen


Skip to content