To get started, all you will need is a light source, a surface, and materials to explore. Check out these suggestions for more ideas:
Light source: It's important to have lights that can be easily moved and adjusted to support explorations of shadow size and position. We try to use point sources as lights to create clean, crisp shadows. Some other solutions we've tried are a Maglight flashlight, a cellphone flashlight, and the sun!
Surface: Think about what projection surfaces will support different kinds of investigations. Hanging up a big sheet or using a blank wall supports large-scale dramatic play and working together. Making individual stations by clamping a canvas to a table or replacing one side of a cardboard box with a screen can create building spaces that feel personal and protected.
Materials to explore: There's no wrong path when choosing materials to investigate. Some general categories we like to use are colorful materials, materials that bend light, reflective materials, and shadow casters.
Check out one direction for shadow explorations through Shadow Skyline!
What do you see? Similar to seeing shapes and animals in cloud formations, shadow remixes invite learners to use their imaginations and share what they see in a shadow. This open-ended prompt encourages remixing and building on the ideas of others, and creates a wonderful series of images in the end.
You can make a shadow remix using a range of tools and materials:
Paper and pen: Trace your shadow on a piece of paper and draw what you see on top. For remixing, make photocopies of the shadow outline and share it with others.
Digital tools: Draw on top of a photo using a photo-editing tool like Procreate or Markup on your smartphone or tablet.
Chalk and sidewalk: Take your shadow remixing outside and use sidewalk chalk to reimagine what you see. Return to your drawing after a couple of hours and remix it using the new position of the shadow.
Curious for more? Check out the Shadow Remix Project Page for more in depth information about this tinkering activity.
Light Play is a playful activity which highlights the unusual shapes and patterns of light and shadow by inviting learners to weave them into a personally meaningful shadow story. It emphasizes the importance of “messing about” with the effects of light and shadow as a way to develop a stronger understanding of the phenomena.
To create your shadow scene on a screen or a surface, play with lights and objects that create shadows, reflect light, or allow light to pass through. Experiment with a flashlight, household items and toys you find around your house to create your scene. You can use a wall as a projection surface or create a custom light play theater using a cardboard box and thin paper.
Light painting is a photography technique that allows you to create shapes and designs using a light source. This is possible using long-exposure photography techniques that can be achieved using traditional cameras or apps on your phone.
What better light source to use than the sun? Take your explorations outside and take a shadow walk. Notice what shadows you see in your neighborhood. Find natural materials like sticks, leaves, and rocks and make your own intersting shadows on the ground. Here, the name "Viva" is spelled on the ground. What would want to write?
Page Credits: This page was made possible through our amazing tinkering collaborators around the world: Aaron Reuland, Astrid Poot, Bethany Jones, Casey Federico, Cate Heroman, Chris Colley, CreappTICa, Ernest Aguayo, Guillermo, Ignacio Aso, Jennifer Frazier, Lianna Kali, Luigi Anzivino, Paola Mattioli, Rupal Jain, Ryan Jenkins, Ryoko Matsumoto, Sebastian Martin, Steph Muscat, and Wissens°raum.