gator science

active adventures in lower school science

Do Shadows Grow Longer or Shorter in Winter?

on October 24, 2013

Second grade scientists asked the question in the class earlier this year.  Many had some interesting ideas.   Some felt the shadow would get shorter, since the days would get shorter in the winter.  Another student expressed how the sun in the winter might be higher in the sky, since the temperatures are colder.   With these good questions and predictions, we recorded the length of data on the same tree at the same time of day one month apart.  We measured the distance of the shadow with a tape measure and counted the number of steps.   The data we collected supported the idea that shadow got longer in the winter months.   We spent some time in the lab experimenting with changing the size of the shadow with a flashlight, piece of clay, and popsicle stick.  The higher the flashlight, the shorter the shadow.  The lower the flashlight, the longer the shadow.  The winter sun sits lower in the sky and makes longer shadows.  We can’t wait to measure our shadows in November and December.  It’s great to be outdoors in science.

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