Exploring Earth: Bear’s Shadow (2017, 2020)

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    Exploring Earth: Bear’s Shadow activity image

"Exploring Earth: Bear’s Shadow" is a hands-on activity designed primarily for young visitors and their families. Participants move a flashlight around an object to make and experiment with shadows. The activity can be connected to a storybook about a little bear exploring his own shadow, and also has connections to the geometry of a solar eclipse as the Moon and Sun cast a shadow onto Earth.



Big Idea

Shadows are created when light falls on, and is blocked by, a surface. The size and position of a shadow can tell you about the source of the light.

Learning Goals

A shadow is created when an object blocks light from falling on a surface.

An object’s shadow always appears on the opposite side from the light source.

Shadows change when the relative positions of the light source and the object change.

(When connected to the 2017 solar eclipse event) A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly between the Sun and the Earth, blocking the Sun’s light and casting a shadow on Earth.


Year created

This material is based upon work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award number NNX16AC67A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Owning institution

The Science Museum of Minnesota


Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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Development Process

NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.