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Learning about Shadows for Groundhogs Day

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Learn about shadows with a fun shadow art activity for kids. Why do shadows appear behind some objects and not others? What does light have to do with the shadow and it's size? S.T.E.A.M. activity for kids. A fun Graoundhog's Day activity for kids.

Welcome back to Unit Study Fridays! Each week I get together with some great bloggers to bring unit study materials and resources based on the week’s theme. This week our theme is Groundhog Day and I’m super excited to share shadow science.

With Groundhog Day fast approaching I thought it would be fun to test out a shadow art activity. This activity encompasses the science and art portion of S.T.E.A.M. and because it’s done in the dark kids love it. On Groundhog Day many classrooms watch Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. If Phil sees his shadow and goes back into his den tradition says there will be a longer winter, if he doesn’t see his shadow spring will come early. These fun traditions are a great way to learn about shadows and make groundhog themed art.

Learning about Shadows

When light is blocked by an object a shadow is made. This only happens with solid objects (or mostly solid) because if an object is transparent the light can travel through it and there is no shadow. A solid object that light doesn’t travel through is call opaque, while an object that lets some light through is called translucent.

Shadows appear when light cannot pass through an object, and they’re located on the side of the object that is farthest from the light source. Shadows get larger and smaller depending on the distance of the light source to the object.

learning about shadows

Shadow Art




Object to Cast Shadow (we used a Shopkin)


learning about shadows


  1. Start by putting the object on a sheet of paper and turning off the lights. Use your flashlight to cast a shadow behind the object. We used an iphone flashlight and set it on a cylinder shaped paint container. Trace around the object’s shadow.
  2. Adjust the flashlight to lengthen the shadow. Trace around the object’s shadow again.
  3. Adjust the flashlight a third time to trace a final shape around the shadow.
  4. Remove the object from the paper and turn on the lights. Notice how the changes in how the light hit the object changed the shape and size of the shadow!

learning about shadows

More Groundhog’s Day Unit Study Resources

Children’s Picture Books about Groundhogs from Jenny Evolution

Demystify Shadows with Fun Puzzle Games from iGameMom

Shadow Animal Matching Activity from MyStorytime Corner

Learning About Shadows {Book Round Up} from Faith and Good Works

Shadow STEM Activities from Schooling a Monkey

Groundhog Day Weather: How Accurate is Popular Weather Lore? from FrogMom

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