Standards Site

Schemes of Work

Science at key stages 1 and 2    (Year 3)

Unit 3F: Light and shadows
Section 4: How shadows change through the day



Children should learn:
  • that shadows change in length and position throughout the day
  • to measure the length of the shadow in standard measures
  • to make a table and bar chart to show how the length of the shadows changes during the day



  • At different times during a bright sunny day visit the playground and set up a stick. Ask children to measure and record the length of the shadow at different times of day. Ask children to predict eg by drawing on the ground the height of the shadow at intermediate times. Help children to present their results in a table and to make a bar chart showing the length of the shadow at different times of day.
  • describe what happens to the shadow of the stick during the course of the day eg it gets shorter and then longer again and predict eg by drawing what the shadow will be like at an intermediate time
  • make accurate measurements of the length of the shadows
  • with help, present results in a table and construct a bar chart

Points to note

This activity focuses on the changes in length of the shadow of the stick. A later activity will focus on the direction of the shadow and how its position and length relate to the apparent movement of the Sun across the sky.

SAFETY - Warn children NEVER to look directly at the Sun. Blindness can result. See 'Be Safe' section 13.

Sections in this unit

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This unit is divided into sections. Each section contains a sequence of activities with related objectives and outcomes. You can view this unit by moving through the sections or print/download the whole unit.
1. Introduction
2. Making shadows
3. Sunlight and shadows
4. How shadows change through the day
5. Where does the Sun shine?
6. Observing the position of the Sun
7. Showing how the Earth spins
8. Sundials
9. Light and different materials
10. Review