Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Tracking Time With Shadows - Section 2: Engage


In order to help student recognize the effect of the sun’s position in relation to shadows, I had them practice creating them with a flashlight and a cup. Their task was to use hold the flashlight in different positions and observe where the shadow fell and note how the length of the shadow changed with different positions of the flashlight. My intent was for them to develop an understanding of how the length of the shadow changed as the position of the sun light changed. We discuss that this simulation with the flashlights is very similar to their upcoming investigation with the sun’s apparent movement in the sky. I explain that they measuring their own shadows as part of collecting data and that they are using that data to explain why the sun appear to move. 

The idea of this pre-investigation activity was to better help students make the connection of how the sun’s position correlates to Earth’s rotation.  By pre-exposing them to this concept, I believe they were better prepared for the real world activity of tracking a shadow’s length and movement to explain time.

  Pre-investigating a Concept
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Pre-investigating a Concept
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Tracking Time With Shadows

Unit 5: Out Of This World- A Journey Through Our Solar System
Lesson 7 of 11

Objective: SWBAT identify and explain the directional path the sun appears to take as it moves across the sky.

Big Idea: Students observe, measure, and mark the changing position of a shadow. They use the shadow’s changing position to develop an understanding of how Earth’s rotation causes of the sun's apparent motion in the sky and time.

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