The Cedars’ Shadow Puppet Theatre

The Cedars were given the challenge of investigating the relationship between light and materials by creating a shadow puppet theatre.

Before we did that, we decided to investigate how shadows are formed. We tested various materials (wood, plastic wrap, tin cans,paper etc) to see if they would create a shadow when a light was shone through them. We then categorised the materials into transparent and opaque- transparent meant that no shadow was formed whereas a shadow was formed when opaque materials were tested. We came to the conclusion that if light doesn’t travel/shine through a material, then a shadow is formed.

We categorised objects into transparent and opaque materials

We also explored how shadows are formed by creating shadow silhouettes of our heads. We used the projector to project the light onto the whiteboard and drew the outline of our head (its shadow). We then cut it out and hung it up for everyone to see.

We created shadow silhouettes of our heads by shining a light on the whiteboard and tracing around the shadow our heads formed onto paper.

Having explored how shadows are formed, we decided to go about creating our shadow puppet theatre. In order to make it, we had to gather some equipment first. We needed: a cardboard box, white tissue paper, paint, torches,sticky tape,a craft knife and some foam/card and lollipop sticks to make our stick puppets.

After gathering all the materials, we started to make the theatre. Firstly, we cut the back panel out of our box and made sure to leave the two flaps on it to keep it stable. Next, we cut out a front panel using a craft knife (and adult supervision!!). We then painted our box and gave the front panel some red curtains to give it the feeling of a puppet theatre. In order to make the front panel act as a screen for our shadow puppets, we stuck some white tissue paper into the opening that had been cut. We then made our all-important puppets using foam, googly eyes, stickers and lollipop sicks- this was great fun!

Next was the grand finale and time to put our theatre to the test. We put our theatre on the floor to keep it sturdy and shone a torch directly inside so that our puppets formed shadows and could be seen through the tissue paper! It worked very well and our puppets created the shadow we were hoping for.

Here we are testing out a heart shaped puppet- you can see its shadow very well!
Here is a dinosaur shaped puppet. Its shadow can be seen clearly!

We really enjoyed creating our theatre and cannot wait to let our imaginations run free and create some fantastic puppet shows!

In conclusion, we learned that some materials are transparent (they allow light shine through them, meaning no shadows are formed) whilst others are opaque (meaning light cannot shine through them and a shadow is formed).

Post Author: maevemcmichael