Friday, January 29, 2010

Shadow Play

Our brand new exhibit, Shadow Playground, opened a few weeks ago. This refurbished, expanded and renamed exhibit in the Creativity Connections Neighborhood came about as a result of numerous observations from our previous exhibit, Shadow Theater. Although the focus of the previous exhibit was about children discovering light and shadows, most observations showed very little interaction in the area. A team was put together, led by our Interdisciplinary Arts Specialist, Marcia MacRae, to develop plans to make the area more interactive. Preliminary research showed that most children think objects, not light, cast shadows. Using this misconception, the team set about to develop experiences where children will notice the correspondence between objects or themselves and their shadows.

One way to help children notice the necessity for light in the creation of shadows was to develop an exhibit component using flashlights. By moving the flashlights back and forth, children can discover that shadows change based on the shape of the surface on which they are cast and the distance between the light source and the surface.

We know from our observations that children play with shadow and light when they notice their bodies as shadows. In Shadow Theater, you can observe shadows using a full-body experience.

Read more about the exhibit in the news here. In our next blog post we'll look at the other two components of this exhibit and discuss how children use the scientific process when exploring shadows.

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