Educator Resources

Scientific Shadow Drawing

Febrero 8, 2022
Scientific Shadow Drawing SVMoA Classroom Enrichment Project

Students explore earth science concepts through observation of shadows and how they change over time, thus observing and recording the sun’s path across the sky as the earth rotates each day.

Students will draw each other’s shadows and compare/contrast the shadow to the actual person. Students will then create a still life collection and draw the shadows of their collection repeatedly every five to seven minutes to capture their shadow data and show evidence of the earth’s rotation as the sun moves across the sky.


  • Students will demonstrate contour drawing.
  • Students will create a composition using a collection of objects to cast a shadow. 
  • Students will observe and mark the path of the sun through a shadow drawing activity.
  • Students will demonstrate understanding of how shadows change over time.
  • Students will discuss how the sun moves across the sky because of the earth’s rotation.
  • Students will write a three-to-four sentence statement about their artwork.

Basic Lesson Outline:

  • Introduce the project and share slideshow.
  • Students will be shown a demonstration of a contour drawing. Students will trace each other’s shadows. Discuss how the shadow differs from the person, how the shadow changes over time and why.
  • Students are invited to choose four to five different colored pencils and are reminded to use one color to trace all of the shadows of their still life. Students use a new color for each iteration of shadow drawing. Students begin their own drawing.
  • Students will finalize their drawing, add texture and color, and create an artist’s statement.
  • Students display their work and artist statement, give feedback and discuss. 

Art Supplies:

  • drawing boards and clips
  • pencils and erasers
  • drawing paper
  • colored pencils (variety of colors)

Other Resources:

  • Example of shadow drawing created by SVMoA staff
  • Slideshow to introduce project, related artwork and concepts
  • Objects for still life collection (students bring objects in to class)

Idaho State Learning Standards:

Arts and Humanities: Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

  • VA:Cr2.1.6a: Demonstrate openness in trying new ideas, materials, methods, and approaches in making works of art and design.

Arts and Humanities: Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.

  • VA:Cr2.2.6a: Explain environmental implications of conservation, care, and clean-up of art materials, tools, and equipment.
  • VA:Cr2.3.6a: Design or redesign objects, places, or systems that meet the identified needs of diverse users.

Science Goal 2.1: Analyze the spatial organizations of people, places, and environment on the earth’s surface.
Objective(s): By the end of Geography-Western Hemisphere, the student will be able to:

  • 6-9.GWH.2.1.1: Explain and use the components of maps, compare different map projections, and explain the appropriate uses for each.
  • 6-9.GWH.2.1.2: Apply latitude and longitude to locate places on Earth and describe the uses of technology, such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Academic Language:

  • Subject area language: observe, notate/record, evidence, sun’s path/earth’s rotation, perspective, latitude
  • Art language: color, line, contour, pattern, repetition, shape, movement, perspective, positive and negative space, composition

Student Use of Vocabulary:

Students will use the words when creating their drawings, when writing about their work, and when discussing their projects.

Student Grouping:

Students will work independently.



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