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Understand the Movement of 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.

'Understand the Movement of the Sun and How Shadows are Made' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Year:  Year 3 Science worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Light

Curriculum subtopic:   Shadows

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview



The Sun is the source of all 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.


Look at this image below and see how the Earth moves around the Sun.


earth spinning around the sun


Because the Earth is moving, we get different amounts of light at different times of day.


The Earth is tilted and rotates. At the same time, it is also moving around the Sun.

The rotation is what makes up our days and gives us sunrises and sunsets.


earth in space leaning toward sun


At midday, the Sun's light travels the least distance, making the Sun's rays hottest and strongest and directly above us, affecting shadows and making them shorter.

shadow changing length related to the sun


Shadows appear longer in the morning and the evening as the Sun is on the horizon, shining further away from objects on Earth, creating longer shadows.


long shadows on grass


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


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