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The Sun and How Shadows are Made

In this worksheet, students will be challenged to stretch their understanding of the Sun's movements and its role in forming shadows, leading on to an investigation into materials that form or do not create shadows.

'The Sun and How Shadows are Made' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Light

Curriculum subtopic:   Shadows

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Sunrise

 

The Sun is the source of life on our planet: it provides the light and the heat that power the processes on which life depends. Understanding how it moves and how the Earth moves is important because it affects life all around the planet.

 

In the second half of the worksheet we'll look at how light is used to form shadows and how to investigate what sort of materials make what sort of shadows.

 

Let's find out!

Here are three statements - pick the one you agree with.

when the Sun is behind you your shadow is in front

when the Sun is behind you your shadow is also behind you

when the Sun is behind you there is no shadow

When does the Sun appear highest in the sky?

in the morning

at midday

in the evening

Why is it that the Sun sometimes appears higher in the sky?

because the Sun moves

because the Earth spins

because sometimes it's hotter

Sundial

 

A sundial is not a very accurate way of telling the time. Pick the reason that best explains why this is so.

there is no regular pattern to the Sun's position in the sky

it only works when it is sunny

you have to go outside

Here are several statements about the Earth and the Sun.

 

Tick THREE that you agree with.

the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west

the Earth goes around the Sun

the Sun goes around the Earth

the Earth spins on its own axis

the Sun goes across the sky in one direction one day and moves back the next day

Mrs. Bates's science class were finding out about how shadows are formed and what sorts of objects make different shadows.  She told the class that she would darken the room and shine a torch at three different materials to see whether they made a shadow on the wall. She asked them to PREDICT which one would make the clearest shadow.

 

What do you think she meant by 'predict'?

a wild guess

a thoughtful guess

look up shadows in a science book

The three materials Mrs. Bates used to try to make shadows on the wall were:

 

  • a piece of thick card
  • a piece of tissue paper
  • a piece of clear plastic

 

Which of these do you predict would make the clearest shadow?

thick card

tissue paper

clear plastic

The three materials Mrs. Bates used to try to make shadows on the wall were:

 

  • a piece of thick card
  • a piece of tissue paper
  • a piece of clear plastic

 

Which of these do you predict would make a very faint shadow?

thick card

tissue paper

clear plastic

Have a look at these three pictures of Mrs. Bates making shadows and pick the one that is correct.

 

A

B

C

Finally Mrs. Bates held a piece of aluminium foil in front of the torch.

 

What do you predict will happen?

there will be a clear shadow

there will be a faint shadow

because of the reflection there will be a shadow on the ceiling

  • Question 1

Here are three statements - pick the one you agree with.

CORRECT ANSWER
when the Sun is behind you your shadow is in front
EDDIE SAYS
If the light is shining from behind you, imagine YOU weren't there - the ground would be lit up. BUT with you there, the light that WOULD have hit the ground is stopped (blocked) by you, so that area of the ground in front of you is dark - your shadow.
  • Question 2

When does the Sun appear highest in the sky?

CORRECT ANSWER
at midday
EDDIE SAYS
As the Earth spins, the Sun appears to move in an arc across the sky, starting at the horizon in the east in the morning and finishing at the horizon in the west in the evening. So at midday it's at its highest and from then on is on its slow way down.
  • Question 3

Why is it that the Sun sometimes appears higher in the sky?

CORRECT ANSWER
because the Earth spins
EDDIE SAYS
Once upon a time everyone believed that the Earth was at the centre of the universe and everything went around us - after all, the Sun seems to move across the sky. Now we know that the Sun is at the centre of the solar system and it's us that moves. Not only that, but the Earth spins: if you were the Earth and your bedside light was the Sun, as you slowly turn, the light stays where it is but as you turn the light seems to come from the left, then in front, then the right. It's the same with us: as the Earth spins, the Sun appears to us, we spin past it (it seems to move) and then it disappears (the Sun sets).
  • Question 4

Sundial

 

A sundial is not a very accurate way of telling the time. Pick the reason that best explains why this is so.

CORRECT ANSWER
it only works when it is sunny
EDDIE SAYS
Sundials are fun and it's exciting to make your own and to realise that you can use them to get an idea of the time. However, they're not too accurate (minutes are important these days!) and they don't work if it's a dull day. Imagine your watch or clock only working in daytime!
  • Question 5

Here are several statements about the Earth and the Sun.

 

Tick THREE that you agree with.

CORRECT ANSWER
the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west
the Earth goes around the Sun
the Earth spins on its own axis
EDDIE SAYS
As the Earth spins on its own axis it appears that the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west (1 spin = 1 day). In addition the Earth, as it spins, moves around the Sun (=1 year).
  • Question 6

Mrs. Bates's science class were finding out about how shadows are formed and what sorts of objects make different shadows.  She told the class that she would darken the room and shine a torch at three different materials to see whether they made a shadow on the wall. She asked them to PREDICT which one would make the clearest shadow.

 

What do you think she meant by 'predict'?

CORRECT ANSWER
a thoughtful guess
EDDIE SAYS
Science investigations are full of predictions - it's what you think is going to happen based on any knowledge you've got about the subject. You don't know the answer (that's why you're doing the investigation) but you have some idea of what you think might happen. That's a prediction.
  • Question 7

The three materials Mrs. Bates used to try to make shadows on the wall were:

 

  • a piece of thick card
  • a piece of tissue paper
  • a piece of clear plastic

 

Which of these do you predict would make the clearest shadow?

CORRECT ANSWER
thick card
EDDIE SAYS
Since shadows are caused by objects blocking the light, the material that blocks the most light is the thick card, since it is opaque. The others let some light through and so would not make as clear a shadow.
  • Question 8

The three materials Mrs. Bates used to try to make shadows on the wall were:

 

  • a piece of thick card
  • a piece of tissue paper
  • a piece of clear plastic

 

Which of these do you predict would make a very faint shadow?

CORRECT ANSWER
clear plastic
EDDIE SAYS
The clear plastic would let most of the light through, but it would reflect a little (it is shiny and so you can see it) so there would be a faint shadow on the wall due to the parts of the light that were reflected back off the plastic and never made it to the wall.
  • Question 9

Have a look at these three pictures of Mrs. Bates making shadows and pick the one that is correct.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
A
EDDIE SAYS
In A the light from the torch is shining on to Mrs. Bates's hand holding the material and a shadow will form on the classroom wall since some of the light is blocked. In B the hand and the torch are on either side of the wall, so no shadow will be made and in C the torch is shining on the hand but the wall is behind the torch instead of in front of it.
  • Question 10

Finally Mrs. Bates held a piece of aluminium foil in front of the torch.

 

What do you predict will happen?

CORRECT ANSWER
there will be a clear shadow
EDDIE SAYS
The aluminium foil is opaque, so it blocks light and will make a clear shadow. Some of the light will reflect on to the ceiling but it will make a shiny spot rather than a shadow.
---- OR ----

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