Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Why Does my Shadow Change? Day 3 - Section 1: Rationale and Preparation

Changes to Shadows Throughout the Year

After teaching this lesson I decided that the best time to do it next year would be at the beginning of the year, not the end.  The first unit I teach each year is on the scientific method so I can provide students with information on how scientists approach problems.  This includes information about models and measuring.  Students not only create a model in this lesson, but also test the model against the real world thing to determine how accurate it is.  That is something that I was not able to do with any of the other models I had them create.  Students are also required to make many measurements with a measuring tape throughout this lesson.  This is one tool they have to be very familiar with because we use it quite frequently.

The reasons listed above are big reasons I believe this lesson would be better taught at the beginning of the year, but the biggest reason I think it would be best done then is so it can be repeated throughout the year.  Since I taught this lesson in late May, the days are very long.  The sun is already over head by 10:30 and still over head at 1:30 (the latest we can measure our shadows at school.  The students were able to see that their shadows got smaller as the day progressed and the sun got higher in the sky, but they were not able to see that their shadow began to get longer later in the day.  When we went out 8:30 and 10:30, the shadows were stretching West and were longer.  When we went out at 12:00, the shadows were very short, still facing West.  Then when we went back out at 1:30, the shadows were a little smaller and barely going East.  They had not started getting longer yet which is one thing I wanted the students to be able to see.

When creating this lesson I thought that the shadows would be the shortest around 12:00 and then would start to get longer at 1:30 or 2:00.  I started thinking maybe this would be the case in the winter, which led me to thinking how great this lesson would be if taught at the beginning of the year, in the fall.  Then revisited in the winter to see how the shadows have changed as the position of the Earth in its orbit has changed.  Then doing the lesson again in the spring and once again comparing it to the other two sets of results.  Content could be expanded on each time the lesson is taught.

I know I am eager to see how our shadows change throughout the year.  I think it will be an interesting thing for students to experience and will give them an opportunity to see how the content they are learning throughout the year helps grow their understanding of concepts.

Why Does my Shadow Change? Day 3

Unit 6: Earth's Place In Space
Lesson 7 of 9

Big Idea: Students will work in groups to measure the length of their shadow at different times during the day and compare their findings the model used in the 2 previous lessons.

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Standards:
Subject(s):
Science, Earth and Space Science, space, Planets
65 minutes

Jennifer Sallas

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