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Mystery 2 of 6
What does your shadow do when you're not looking?
Read-Along Mystery 2 image
What does your shadow do when you're not looking?
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Hi! I’m Jada. This is my mom and my brother, Billy.

One summer morning, we all went to the beach.

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At the beach, Mom put up her umbrella.

The umbrella blocked the sunshine.

It made a shadow.

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I blocked the sunshine, so I made a shadow, too.

My shadow was taller than I was.

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When I moved, my shadow moved.

It followed me everywhere.

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The sun went behind a cloud. My shadow disappeared.

The sun came out and my shadow came back.

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stop & talk

Stop & Talk

Why did Jada's shadow disappear?
Why did it come back?

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I only had a shadow when there was sunshine.

When there was no light, I had no shadow.

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I wondered: What else does my shadow do when I’m not paying attention?

I decided to find out.

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“Hey, Billy! I have an idea. Draw a line around my shadow.”

“Why?” Billy asked.

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“If my shadow changes, I will see the change,” I told him.

“I will if you help me build a sandcastle,” Billy said.

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Billy drew a line around my shadow.

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I helped Billy build a sandcastle.

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At lunchtime, we all sat in the shade under the umbrella.

We had a picnic.

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After lunch, I looked at my shadow.

“Look at this, Billy!” I said.

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stop & talk Stop & Talk: How has Jada's shadow changed? How has the position of the sun changed?

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In the morning, the sun was low in the sky.

My shadow was tall.

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At lunchtime, the sun was high above me.

My shadow was short.

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get up & move

Get Up & Move!

Pretend to be a shadow.
It’s morning…Stretch up tall!
It’s lunchtime…Shrink down small!

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I wondered: What will my shadow look like in the afternoon?

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“Your shadow was tall in the morning and it got shorter,” Billy said. “I think it will keep getting shorter.”

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“I think it will get tall again,” I said. “The sun will be low in the sky, just like it was this morning.”

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stop and talk Stop & Talk: What do you think Jada’s shadow will look like in the afternoon? Why do you think that?

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Billy and I played on the beach all afternoon.

Then it was time to go home.

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I looked at my shadow one more time.

The sun was low. My shadow was tall again!

And something else had changed.

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stop & talk

Stop & Talk

How is Jada’s morning shadow different from her afternoon shadow?
How is the morning sun different from the afternoon sun?

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In the morning, the sun was over the fence.

My shadow pointed at the water.

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In the afternoon, the sun was over the water.

My shadow pointed at the fence.

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Now the sun was going down.

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Mom folded her umbrella.

Billy put his shovel in his bucket.

It was time to go home.

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We walked toward the parking lot.

My shadow pointed the way to go.

THE END

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Optional Activity: Trace Your Shadow

Your students can trace their shadows, just like Jada did.

Step 1: Have students pair up and trace each other’s shadows in chalk—first in the morning, then in the afternoon. Use different colors for different times of day. Be sure students trace around their shoes first and write their names next to their shadows.

Step 2: Near each shadow, have students draw an arrow to where the sun is in the sky at that time of day.

Step 3: At the end of the day, ask students why they think their morning and afternoon shadows pointed in different directions.

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You've completed the Read-Along & Optional Activity!

If you have more time, view the extensions.

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Extensions

Below is an idea for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration you just completed.

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Recommended Activity: Trace Your Shadow

Your students can trace their shadows, just like Jada did.

Step 1: Have students pair up and trace each other’s shadows in chalk—first in the morning, then in the afternoon. Use different colors for different times of day. Be sure students trace around their shoes first and write their names next to their shadows.

Step 2: Near each shadow, have students draw an arrow to where the sun is in the sky at that time of day.

Step 3: At the end of the day, ask students why they think their morning and afternoon shadows pointed in different directions.

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Overview
Grade 1st
Topic Sun, Moon, & Stars
Focus Sun, Shadows, & Daily Patterns
Print Prep
Activity Prep

Switch to narrated voiceover

In this Read-Along Mystery, Jada explores why her shadow changes over the course of a day at the beach. The Mystery includes a short exercise where students act out the movement of shadows with their bodies. You can extend the lesson with the optional activity, Trace Your Shadow, where students trace their shadows using colored chalk and track the shadow’s changes throughout the day.

Preview optional activity

Number of students:
Colored Chalk
Recommend two different colors per pair of students.
Details
30 sticks
Prep Instructions

We recommend students work in pairs. Homeschool students will need a partner to help them trace their shadow.

You will need access to a playground or other area with a blacktop. This activity works best on a sunny day when students can clearly see their shadows.

Overview
Grade 1st
Topic Sun, Moon, & Stars
Focus Sun, Shadows, & Daily Patterns