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Shadow Puppets

Capture shadow puppets by tracing them and turning them into stick puppets.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Create a light and shadow wall in your classroom by dimming the light sources. Use flashlights or other projectors to cast light on an open wall or chalk board.
    2. Encourage students to play with hand puppetry by making rabbits, crocodiles, birds, and other shadow creatures with their arms and hands on the open wall.
    3. Organize students to work with a partner to trace each other's hand shadows onto oak tag or posterboard with Crayola® Washable Markers.
    4. Children cut each traced hand shadow from the paper using Crayola Scissors. Encourage them to add details to the hand shadow with markers.
    5. Attach a craft stick to the back of each shadow puppet with Crayola No-Run School Glue. Allow time for glue to dry.
    6. To experiment with light and shadows, students predict and then test how varying the distance between the puppet and light source changes its shadow. Experiment with various light and puppet positions. Record effects on the shadows.
    7. Encourage students to organize their research findings in writing and be prepared to share these findings with classmates. Provide time in the school day to share and discuss their findings.
  • Standards

    LA: Effectively engage in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Obtain information that animals have structures that allow them to respond to stimuli through instinct or memory.

    SCI: Investigate and explain that for an object to be seen, light must be reflected off the object and enter the eye.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Students collaborate to write a play for their shadow puppets. Be prepared to perform it for classmates or younger students.

    Students create 3-D shadow puppets using Crayola Model Magic. Build long, thin, and unusually shaped puppets by pressing the modeling compound around straws, paper towel rolls, or other recycled materials. Explore how shadows differ from the flat paper shadow puppets.

    Students devise a game to play with their shadow puppets. Collaborate in small groups to write the rules for the games. Be prepared to teach classmates how to play.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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