Drawing with light

Our final session took place together as a real visit – in a welcoming sunlit classroom and a now familiar school yard!

It was a natural development for us to investigate how we could use the resource of the sun to explore some more ideas. The sun shone mostly in Crossmaglen that day and we had a wonderful time together. First of all we reminisced over our project and offered up some favourite moments during a circle time gathering. Its been quite a journey… from hand writing to giant loops.. to gravity, movement, space, outer space and back to earth in our classroom, happy to share the morning in each other’s company.

This day we focused on LIGHT and spent a few moments discussing how the children were able to see me appear on their Interactive whiteboard for our online sessions – by the use of  light ‘projecting’ the image from the data projector. We discussed the fact that the whiteboard light was strong, but the sunlight was stronger… we tested the whiteboard to see if we could still see a clear image when the blinds were all pulled up…. the classroom was drenched in sunlight making the images very difficult to see.

How does the sunlight get into the classroom?

We pulled the blinds back down and looked for how the sun got in…..

Soon we began SHADOW HUNTING… we looked for strange shadow shapes….







Mrs Hughes soon began to fire the children’s excitement about going out into the yard to ‘track’ our shadows and a discussion ensued about how time could be tracked using our shadows like a sundial. We decided to record our shadows position over the whole morning, by drawing round each other’s shapes every hour with chalk.





If the sun faded a little, we found it difficult to trace an outline…

Back in the classroom I introduced two objects called lightboxes, first of all explaining to the children that artists would use these objects to view photographic slides…

A light box was used in the past to view photographic slides… light could pass through them to enable the image to be clearly seen. Slides were then put into a slide projector to enlarge and view on a screen or wall.
I brought an old file of slides, that were a documentation of artwork made 17 years ago to show the children…

I invite the children to think about how we could create images using light and black sugar paper…. “make a hole and let the light pass through” they said!

The children were each given a dressmaking pin and what happened next was lovely to observe… They patiently and carefully made tiny holes, developing their shapes and creating some wonderful drawings…




Each child took time to punch tiny holes in the black sugar paper…
Amazing concentration from each child…
They had to be careful not to prick their own fingers….
Working steadily to create a line…

When we put the black sugar paper on the light box… look at the magical effects!

One very amazing thing that Eileen the classroom assistant discovered, was that when pin holes were made in one side of the paper, it caused a raised surface on the back of the page.. Mrs Hughes invited one child to show me their shape made by pin holes, but not by shining light through – I had to guess the shape by touch. I passed my fingers over the raised surface to try to feel the shape… Those who are visually impaired use this technique to read braille – shapes and letters made by raised surfaces on paper.

Meanwhile we still had to remember to track our shadows from time to time….

We traced our shadows several times during the morning, by standing in the same spot and seeing how the new shadow was in a different place!
Look at our chalk tracks…..
The changing shadows offered wonderful opportunity to learn about time and lengthening or shortening shadows…
We took time to discuss how our shadows had changed over the course of the morning.


All the children gather round to look at the shadow drawings.
Thank you P3 and P4 children, Eileen and Mrs Hughes for a memorable year on Virtually There Project!


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