Light and Shadows

Year 3

Unit Overview

This project teaches children about light and dark. They investigate the phenomena of reflections and shadows, looking for patterns in collected data. The risks associated with the Sun are also explored.


Shadow investigation that lasts all day!


Investigation booklets


Exploring shadows

Unit Sequence: Learning Intentions

  1. Light facts, exploring light. Reflectors and light sources - Recognise that they need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light. Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables.

  2. Sun safety -Recognise that light from the sun can be dangerous and that there are ways to protect their eyes.

  3. Exploring shadows. - Identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes. Make increasingly careful observations, identifying similarities, differences and changes and making simple connections

  4. Translucent, transparent and opaque -Recognise that shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by a solid object. Shadows change when the light source or the object moves. For example, when a light source is lowered, shadows grow longer.

Scientific Enquiry: Investigations

Why do shadows change? Children observe and learn why shadows move and change length during the day.

    • Set up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests.

    • Shadows move and change length during the day according to the Sun’s position in the sky. When the Sun is at its highest, the shadows are at their shortest, and vice versa.

  1. Why do cat's eyes glow at night? Children investigate the reflective properties of materials and find out why cat’s eyes glow at night.

    • To make and record observations.

    • To record collected data in table format.


The Big Light Quiz Game


Shadows (Exploring Light) by Louise and Richard Spilsbury

What is Light? (Science Basics) by Mark Weakland