Shadows, Shadows, Shadows!
Lesson 6 of 9
Objective: SWBAT investigate how shadows change shape, size and color.
Next Generation Science Standards Connection:
In this lesson students will conduct an investigation to determine the effect of moving opaque objects in the path of a beam of light. Students will perform simple tests to gather evidence to support or refute their predictions/hypothesis. These tests will allow them to discover how shadows change and relate this learning to a variety of light sources. Student will record their thinking in their science journals.
The scientific method is a form of exploration that allows scientists to explore observations and answer questions. This exploration can be used to notice when changes in an object cause a change in another object (If you move the light source closer to the object, the object gets bigger). This allows scientists to discover cause and effect relationships in our environment.
In order to support a high level of student discourse within my science lessons I have assigned two different student partnerships. Turn and Talk Partners are discourse partners that work together to share the deep thinking that happens throughout the day. Workshop Partners are partners who are matched together for the purpose of working during our independent times. In this lesson students will be engaged in both partnerships.
I LOVE involving parents in the learning in my classroom. This parent letter is both an introduction to my sound and light wave units as well as a request for supplies. Many of the items used to teach this unit are recyclable items so I ask for help from parents and colleagues.
1. science vocabulary - Shadows - light, beam, shadow, block, brightness, position, distance
2. Opaque materials (IMAGE)
4. Investigation Worksheet (Interactive Whiteboard)
5. Science Journal - I use blank paper in my journals so my students have more space and freedom to experiment with graphic organizers, illustrations, etc.
In order to activate prior knowledge I remind my students of the work we did in our lesson about different materials and light travel. We studied what happens to the beam of light when an opaque, transparent, and translucent object is in its path.
Boys and girls you learned that when an opaque object is put in the path of a beam of light two things can happen. Sometimes the object will let no light pass through and sometimes the objects form a shadow. In our last investigation we made some smart predictions. Remember a prediction is a guess about what might happen based on our observations. Today you are going to make a prediction to the following question: Do Shadows Change?
I ask my student "Do Shadows Change?" I ask my students to share their thinking with their turn and talk partner.
I turn off the light and ask one child to hold the flashlight. I place an opaque object in the path of the light beam. I ask my students to observe the shadow on the white board as I move the object. I turn the lights on and re-state my question: Do Shadows Change?
In this lesson my students are sitting on the floor in front of our Interactive Whiteboard. Research shows that our students are more likely to gain a deeper understanding of the science concepts when they are actively engaged in doing science. I believe that technology can allow children to experience this type of learning. I will use the Interactive Whiteboard as an anchor chart, recording student thinking and making visual for my learners.
I introduce them to my version of the scientific process using my Scientific Process Poster. It is important for me to read over the Scientific Process and explain each step. I tell my students that a hypothesis is a lot like a prediction but today our guess will be made after doing smart research.
Boys and girls isn't it so neat that a shadow can change? Today you are going to do an experiment using the Scientific Process. This process has a lot of important steps. The first step is to ask a question about shadows. Do any of you have any questions about shadows?
The Science and Engineering Practice 1 requires students to ask questions and define problems. Science begins with questioning and allows for curiosity to drive the learning in the classroom. The NGSS states:
The actual doing of science or engineering can pique students’ curiosity, capture their interest, and motivate their continued study; the insights thus gained help them recognize that the work of scientists and engineers is a creative endeavor.
Young children are naturals at asking questions in science. I encourage questioning in all the work in the classroom and respond to daily questions with, That's a great question! Let's find a way to solve it! or "Great question. What do you need to do to find out the answer. At the beginning of the school year I spent a lot of time teaching the difference between a "noticing" and a "wondering." I encourage my student to use the words, "I wonder" before starting their questions. This helps them discern between asking questions and telling about something they already know. In this lesson I record their questions on my Investigation worksheet posted on the Interactive Whiteboard. It is important for students to see their words recorded. Modeled writing allows our readers to see the connections between the spoken word and written word. What we say, we can write. What we write, we can read.
I will guide my students questions by saying, Boys and girls we can move our objects and move the light source. Do you wonder what will happen if we do that? Please share your questions with your turn and talk partner.
These are the "wonderings" I will try to guide my students to ask:
1. What will happen to the shadow when the light source is made dimmer?
2. What happens to the shadow when an object gets close to the light?
3. What happens to the shadow when the object is moved away from the light?
4. What happens when the light source points down at the object?
5. What happens when the light source points up at the object?
4. How else can you change the shadow?
Our next step is to do some research. You will have to work on the computers to learn about shadows. Your job is to use the game on your computer to learn about shadows to help you make a hypothesis. Remember a hypothesis is a lot like making a prediction. You have to use what you already and the new research to help you form a smart guess. I have my student computers open to the Sun, Light & Shadows website. I allow them to play for about five minutes and bring them back to our meeting area.
Boys and girls let's add our hypotheses to the Investigation Worksheet. I ask each question and record student thinking to our worksheet on the Interactive Whiteboard.
In this exploration the students work with their workshop partners. I pass out a tray to each partnership. The tray has one flashlight, one opaque object and a student copy of our Investigation Worksheet.
Today you and your partner will be given a tray with one flashlight, a colored transparency and one opaque object (IMAGE of trays). Your job is to work with your partner to figure out a way to answer our questions. You get to make your own investigation with these tools to discover how a shadow changes when the properties (brightness, position, distance) of a light source are changed. You job is to investigate all of our questions on our Investigation Worksheet.
I darken the room by turning off the lights and shading the windows. The student with the flashlight cast the light on the model, causing a shadow to appear on the wall, folder or cabinet. The students have to work together to create a way to answer the above questions.
As my students are working I walk around and confer with each student naming and noticing the smart thinking happening. Conferring is the process of listening and recording the work the student or students are doing and then compliment the work. As I listen, I research a teaching point and then work to provide clarification through questioning, modeling and re-teaching. My goal is to use questioning to guide my students to move the object or the light source and notice the change. I might say, "Did you try to put the object close the light source?" or "What happened when you moved the light source far away from the object? I record my observations on science recording sheet and use this data to drive my teaching.
I turn the classroom lights back on and bring the class together to share their observations with their turn and talk partners. The strands of science proficiency involve students to participate productively in scientific practices and discourse. In other words our students need to be able to think science and talk science. I have my students talk about their observations with their turn and talk partners. I ask my students, "What did you learn?" and "What did you notice?" As my students share I listen in on their conversations.
I ask the students to show their results by turning the lights back off and allowing them to prove their findings. Science and Engineering practice 8 requires our students to obtain, evaluate and communicate information. By students sharing their evidence and explaining results students are allowed to engage in scientific reasoning. My students will communicate information about a shadows using a model.
We make the light dimmer and brighter, move the object forward and backward and move the light up and down. As each action is completed we record our findings on our Investigation worksheet and I add the science vocabulary that supports this learning: position, distance, brightness. After the results, my students talk about their own investigations and determine whether their hypotheses are correct. We record our findings on our Investigation Worksheet.
I am sure to tell my students, Remember it is good to recognize when your hypothesis is wrong because scientist discover things every day by discovering what doesn't work.
The Science and Engineering Practice 4 asks students to analyze data. At the K-2 level this involves students collecting, recording, and sharing observations. In this lesson the students are recording information, thoughts and ideas in their science journals.
I send my students back to their science journals and ask them to write about our investigation today. I ask, "What did you learn today?" As the students write I tell them to refer back to the research we did today. I tell them to use information from their recording sheet to help with their scientific writing. I am looking for answers that include words like shadow, big, small, light, dark, etc. This formative assessment gives me insight on the learning that is taking place.
I place a small pumpkin on the rug in the middle of our meeting area, dim the classroom lights and place a lamp facing the pumpkin. The children sit in a circle around the pumpkin with a clipboard, piece of drawing paper and a pencil. I ask my students to all draw what they see. I remind them of the video we watched called Austin's Butterfly. I remind my students to draw exactly what they see just like a scientist paying close attention to the size, where the shadow is located and lines. As my students work I remind my students that drawing like a scientist takes perseverance and hard work.
After the drawing is done my students color in their pumpkins and share. As my students share their pictures we talk about the location of the shadow. I ask, "Why are the shadows in different places?" I have the students share their answers with their turn and talk partners. I listen in for understandings and misconceptions and record them on my recording sheet.