The Shadow Shows (The Reason for the Seasons) Part 1

For better Printing: pdf version


Axis holder (from Act. 3)
Poof ball*
5/8” nail
8” skewer
*Material Note: The Poof balls used are foam nerf-type balls. Each has two colors, which works well to distinguish hemispheres. They are available at stores like K-Mart and WalMart for just under $2 each

1. Insert the skewer so it passes through the North and South Poles of the ball.
2. Insert a nail in the ball to represent our latitude on the Earth.
3. Push the nail in until only about 1/8” sticks up above the surface.
4. Make sure the nail is perpendicular to the surface.
5. Insert the pointed end of the skewer into the 90°hole in the holder.
6. Position the light so approximately half of the globe is in the light. (Look for the shadow mark to help you.)
7. Turn the skewer slowly. Observe how the parts of the globe move into and out of the light.
8. Observe the nail and the shadow it makes.

A. When is the shadow of the nail shortest?

B. When is the shadow of the nail longest?

C. When is there no shadow for the nail?

Explore some more:
1. Move the sun and to the opposite side (180° from where it is)
2. Repeat the procedure of turning the globe and observing the nail.

A. Do you notice any differences? If so, what are they?

B. How is the shadow on the globe similar to explorations you did with the folder?

Polar Light Home: Land of the Midnight Sun
Activity 1: How Long will my Shadow Grow?
(Keeping a shadow tape through the year)
Activity 2: How does the surface affect the light we see?
Activity 3: Preparing an axis holder for The Shadow Shows
Activity 4: The Shadow Shows (The Reason for the Seasons) Part 1
The Shadow Shows (The Reason for the Seasons) Part 2