The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Shadow Clocks

In this worksheet, students will explore why shadows change during the day and how we can use this to tell the time.

'Shadow Clocks' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Light

Curriculum subtopic:  Changes in Shadows

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Shadows don't stay the same. If you move, your shadow moves with you. You've probably also noticed that the shadow of something that doesn't move, such as a house, can move too. Have you thought about why that happens? Think about where the light is coming from that is being blocked by the house. It comes from the sun. 

Shadows on a golf course

In this worksheet we will look at why shadows change during the day, and at how this can be a useful way of telling the time.

Why do shadows cast by objects like buildings change during the day?

because of changes in the weather

because the objects move

because the sun seems to move across the sky

When the sun is high in the sky at midday how do the shadows look?

long and thin

short and stubby

medium length and wide

Why do shadows look long and thin early in the morning and late in the afternoon?

because the sunlight isn't so strong then

because the sunlight has further to go

because the sunlight is coming from low in the sky

If you stand with your back to the sun, where is your shadow?

behind you

in front of you

you won't have a shadow

Why does the sun appear to travel across the sky?

because the sun travels around the Earth

because the Earth spins like a top

The sun appears to move across the sky during the day, and shadows change as it moves. How could you use this to make a clock?

Homemade sundial

measure where the shadows fall at different times of day

measure the changing length of shadows

measure when the shadows are darkest

What do you call a clock that tells the time using sunlight and shadows?

an hourglass

a metronome

a sundial

  • Question 1

Why do shadows cast by objects like buildings change during the day?

CORRECT ANSWER
because the sun seems to move across the sky
EDDIE SAYS
During the course of a day the sun appears to rise in the east, move across the sky, and set in the west. This means that the light from the sun is coming from different directions at different times of the day, so the shadows change too.
  • Question 2

When the sun is high in the sky at midday how do the shadows look?

CORRECT ANSWER
short and stubby
EDDIE SAYS
When the light is coming from overhead the shadows are short. Try it yourself by standing outside around midday on a sunny day and looking at your shadow. Where is the sun? Why is your shadow short?
  • Question 3

Why do shadows look long and thin early in the morning and late in the afternoon?

CORRECT ANSWER
because the sunlight is coming from low in the sky
EDDIE SAYS
You can try this for yourself. Shine a torch on an object such as a cup and see how the shadow changes as you move the torch from above the cup to off to the side of the cup.
  • Question 4

If you stand with your back to the sun, where is your shadow?

CORRECT ANSWER
in front of you
EDDIE SAYS
The object making the shadow is always between the shadow and the source of light.
  • Question 5

Why does the sun appear to travel across the sky?

CORRECT ANSWER
because the Earth spins like a top
EDDIE SAYS
The Earth turns so that different parts of its surface point towards the sun at different times of the day. This makes it look as if the sun is moving through the sky, but it isn't really. It takes one day for the Earth to spin round once.
  • Question 6

The sun appears to move across the sky during the day, and shadows change as it moves. How could you use this to make a clock?

Homemade sundial

CORRECT ANSWER
measure where the shadows fall at different times of day
EDDIE SAYS
Put a stick in the ground and mark where its shadow falls at, say, 10 am. Do it again at 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2pm and so on. Leave your stick and markers in position and look at them again the next day. Can you tell the time by where the shadow of the stick falls on the markers?
  • Question 7

What do you call a clock that tells the time using sunlight and shadows?

CORRECT ANSWER
a sundial
EDDIE SAYS
Sundials are often found mounted on a stone plinth; they're often made of brass and have all the hour markings stamped into the metal. However, it's lots of fun to make your own!
---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Start your £1 trial

Start your trial for £1