Exploring Light and Shadow

Lights and shadows are naturally intriguing subjects, and many of our classrooms explore these concepts with all ages of children. These vast concepts allow our students to explore light from many perspectives. Take a look below at the many ways PSA has been looking at light lately.

Light Tables and Loose Materials

In the art studio, a large light table is set up with a variety of translucent loose materials. One student looks closely through all of the materials and gathers every red item that she can find. She locates a frame, and begins to place all of her pieces within the oval. Another student is nearby observing and commenting on her work. He asks, “Is it inside? Inside da circle?”img_4919

“All these are friends! Put all red friends together. This is a daddy friend. And babies all around.”

Shadow Puppets – Many Ways!

In the music studio, many of the classrooms came down to view a video of a puppet theatre from Sofia, Bulgaria. They created each animal from the Carnival of the Animals with their hands and set it to the music. The children thought this was fascinating and many tried it out for themselves as each animal was being created on screen.music2

In the small studio, we created a dark room where the children could explore light and shadow a little further. There were several small stations set up with flashlights, Magnatiles for shining light through, animals, and more. There was also a large white sheet set up with two big flashlights and the shadow puppets we had used in music class. The children could even try their hand at making their own shadow puppets using paper and craft sticks!music1music4

After viewing the shadow puppet performance, in the art studio, the children created shadow art from black shapes and colored transparent acetate. The children attached the shapes by using black tape, which was a new concept for many of the children. They had to experiment with the tape to figure out how to get it to join two pieces together. This was challenging and at times frustrating, but they stuck with it until they got it to work. This supports hand-eye coordination and tenacity.

“We watched a shadow puppet show in the music studio. How does my guy look? He’s scratching his elephant leg.”
“Silly shadow puppets! This is an angel. The greatest shadow puppet show in the world!”
“Silly shadow puppets! This is an angel. The greatest shadow puppet show in the world!”

Pre-Nap Flashlights

Just before nap, with the lights dimmed, one classroom uses flashlights to explore and relax for a calm transition into nap.

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Working with Projectors

One classroom used a projector to explore light. The children were inspired by the light and shadow provocation as a means of adding depth to their storytelling by using props and by telling a story collaboratively. They made shadow puppets and tried to keep their puppets on the track as we projected an animated rack track onto the wall.

“I put it (puppet) in front of the light and it got big, big, big.” “If I move it up, it’s smaller!”


Collages with Light

To begin, the children drew with Sharpies on clear sheets of acetate. They used geometric stencils to create interesting designs. Then on a piece of clear contact paper, the children made a collage with transparent and opaque materials. The two pieces of artwork were sandwiched together to make the final piece for the overhead projector.

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