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Shadow Safari : Silhouette STEM Challenge Animal Shadow Identification with Lesson Plan and Free Printable Worksheets

Silhouette STEM Challenge Animal Shadow Identification is a great and engaging activity for kids it also can be great for STEM night challenges, little explorers not only enjoy it but also learn through fun, it is also a great activity for fine motor skills, gross motor skills and hands and eye coordination, and also engages students in hands-on exploration, critical thinking, and scientific observation while introducing fundamental STEM concepts related to light and shadows.

Shadow Safari: Silhouette STEM Challenge Animal Shadow Identification

Lesson Plan: Exploring Light, Shadows, and Perspective with Animal Silhouettes

Here's a detailed lesson plan for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) class using the "Animal Shadow Guessing Game" activity with free printable worksheets also see here for more silhouette activities:

Grade Level:

Suitable for all age groups with difficulties of challenging students.


  • Students will understand the fundamental concepts of light, shadows, and perspective.
  • Students will use critical thinking and observation skills to guess which animal silhouettes create specific shadows.
  • Students will apply the knowledge gained to create diagrams illustrating light and shadows.


  1. Animal silhouette cutouts (various shapes)download free from the bottom
  2. Light sources (flashlights or lamps)
  3. White wall or screen
  4. Worksheets are free to download from the bottom and pens for students
  5. Optional: Cameras or smartphones for capturing shadows


Approximately 60 minutes


Read Aloud

Read aloud the story of The Mystery of the Midnight Shadows, A beautiful poem that also can be read for junior kids.

Introduction (10 minutes):

1. Begin by discussing the concept of shadows and their formation. Ask students if they have ever observed shadows and what they think causes them.

2. Explain that they will be exploring shadows in more detail today using animal silhouettes and light sources.

Activity: Animal Shadow Guessing Game (30 minutes):

3. Set up the environment:

  • Find a darkened room with a white wall or screen.
  • Place the light source (e.g., flashlight) on one side of the room, facing the wall or screen.
  • Attach animal silhouette cutouts to sticks or strings for easy handling.

4. Demonstrate how to hold an animal silhouette in front of the light source, casting a shadow on the wall or screen.

5. Divide the class into small groups or pairs, and distribute animal silhouette cutouts to each group.

6. Instruct students to take turns holding the silhouettes in front of the light source and casting shadows on the wall or screen.

7. Ask students to observe and guess which animal the shadow represents, recording their guesses on paper.

8. Rotate through the groups to ensure everyone has a chance to participate.

Discussion (15 minutes):

9. Gather the students and ask them to share their observations and guesses.
- Were their guesses mostly accurate or inaccurate? Why?
- How did the size and shape of the shadow influence their guesses?
- Did they notice any patterns or similarities between the shadows and the actual animal silhouettes?

10. Discuss the concept of light, shadows, and perspective:
- Explain how shadows are formed when an object blocks light.
- Discuss how the size and shape of the silhouette affect the shadow.
- Explore how the distance between the light source, object, and wall affects the shadow's characteristics.

Challenge and Diagram Activity (5 minutes):

11. Present the challenge to students: "Draw a simple diagram illustrating how light and shadows work in this activity."

12. Provide students with worksheets given below (FREE) and pens. Ask them to create diagrams to represent the light source, silhouette, and resulting shadow.

Conclusion (5 minutes):

13. Have students share their diagrams with the class and discuss the key elements of their drawings.

14. Summarize the main concepts learned during the lesson: light, shadows, perspective, and the interplay between them.

Homework or Extended Activity:

15. As a follow-up, assign students to research and create a short presentation about famous scientists who made significant contributions to the understanding of light, shadows, and perspective, such as Leonardo da Vinci or Isaac Newton.


- Evaluate students based on their participation in the activity, their ability to articulate observations and concepts during the discussion, and the quality of their diagrams.

This lesson plan engages students in hands-on exploration, critical thinking, and scientific observation while introducing fundamental STEM concepts related to light and shadows.

Free Printable PDF Download from here:

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