Shadow Mapping

The Abundant Garden: Growing Quality Kids Through Gardening by

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Shadow Mapping: an activity for children of all ages. An important piece of information to have as you plan your garden is to know where the shadows will be during the growing season. Some plants require full sun (sun throughout the day) and some prefer partial sun (shade part of the day). This activity will give you an idea of where your shadows will fall right now, but it would be a good idea and a fun followup activity to repeat it at the summer solstice (the first day of summer) when the sun will be the highest in the sky all year. Or repeat it each month to be even more accurate.

  •  Supplies:
  • Determine the cardinal directions (North, South, East, West) and the intercardinal directions (Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest)
  • Draw these points using sidewalk chalk on an outdoor surface such as a driveway, sidewalk, or patio.  If you live in the northern hemisphere the sun will shine more and more from the south as you reach winter solstice (the first day of winter) and more and more from overhead as you reach the summer solstice (the first day of summer). The first days of spring and fall are on the spring and fall equinox respectively (the days when the time the sun shines and doesn’t shine for an equal amount of time). In the southern hemisphere everything works the same except our winter solstice is their summer solstice and our summer solstice is their winter solstice, and when we reach spring and fall they are reaching fall and spring.
  • Note the position of the sun three times during the day:
    • Early to mid-morning
    • High noon
    • Late afternoon
  • Draw a basic sketch of your garden.
  • Next, draw the approximate lines of major shadows (from buildings and trees etc.) in pencil on a map of your garden.
  • Write that day’s date along the shadow lines
  • Repeat these steps every month if you would like to get a more accurate map (parents can set a calendar event in their phone as a reminder).
  • Place the page(s) in a protector when finished and include them in the garden notebook/journal.
  • Take pictures and tag #theabundantgarden on Instagram to share your fun and for an opportunity to be featured @theabundantgarden.