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Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Let's Make Shade

Subject Area

Arts Education




Students will investigate how structures can reduce the effects of sunlight on the Earth’s surface. Students will use recycled materials to design a structure to reduce the effects of sunlight. Students will work in small groups to design and construct their structure. Finally, students will test their structures outside in the sun and record their findings.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

    Science (2015) Grade(s): KG


    Design and construct a device (e.g., hat, canopy, umbrella, tent) to reduce the effects of sunlight.*

    Unpacked Content



    • Design
    • Construct
    • Device
    • Sunlight
    • Reduce
    • Effects
    • Create
    • Ask
    • Imagine
    • Improve
    • Plan


    Students know:
    • The problem.
    • The design solution.
    • What way the design solution uses the given scientific information about the warming effect of the Sun on Earth's surface.


    Students are able to:
    • Use tools and materials provided to design and build a device that reduces the effects of sunlight.


    Students understand that:
    • Structures can reduce the effects of sunlight on Earth's surface.
    • Whether or not a device meets expectations in terms of cause (device reduces effects of sunlight) and effect (less warming).

    Scientific and Engineering Practices

    Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

    Crosscutting Concepts

    Cause and Effect
    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): KG - Visual Arts


    Explore collaboratively in creative art-making.

    Unpacked Content



    • Art
    • Artwork
    • Collaboratively
    • Collage
    • Cool colors
    • Warm colors
    • Elements of Art
      • Color
      • Line
      • Shape
    • Imaginative play
    • Play
    • Portfolio
    • Primary colors
    • Principles of design
      • Pattern
    • Printmaking

    Essential Questions

    EU: Artists and designers shape artistic investigations, following or breaking with traditions in pursuit of creative artmaking goals.
    EQ: How does knowing the contexts, histories, and traditions of art forms help create works of art and design? Why do artists follow or break from established traditions? How do artists determine what resources and criteria are needed to formulate artistic investigations?

    Skills Examples

    • Create two-dimensional artworks using finger painting, watercolors, paper collage, and rubbings.
    • Create three-dimensional artworks using techniques such as rolling, folding, cutting, molding, pinching, and pulling clay.
    • Work with a partner to create works of art.
    • Working in small groups, use recycled materials to create artworks.
    • Explore the books Why is Blue Dog Blue? by G. Rodrigue and My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss to understand color meanings and moods.
    • Read the book Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman to explore different styles of line.
    • Safely use and share scissors, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, paints, paintbrushes, and clay.
    • Use symbols to help tell a personal or make-believe story.
    • Manipulate art media to create textures and patterns.
    • Identify and use organic and geometric shapes to create works of art.
    • Show respect for self and others while making and viewing art.
    • Use the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) to create a free-style painting while singing the names of the colors.
    • Use patterns in designing colored stripes on the shirt of a person you know.
    • Collect found objects such as paper tubes, forks, and pieces of cardboard. Press them in shallow tempera paint, and stamp them on paper to show printmaking.
    • Create a T-chart that separates cool (blue, green, and purple) and warm (red, yellow, and orange) colors in different columns. Use the symbols of water waves for the cool column header and the sun for the warm column header.
    • Work with a partner to find colors, lines, and shapes in art and tell each other what you see.

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will construct a design and construct a structure with the function of reducing the effects of sunlight.

    Students will work collaboratively in small groups to create a structure that can reduce the effects of sunlight.

    Activity Details

    This learning activity is best used after teaching a lesson on the effect of the sun on the Earth’s surface.  

    Place students into small groups (3 to 4 students per group).  As a group, students will design a structure to reduce the effects of sunlight (canopy, umbrella, tent, hat, etc.). The students will use their science journals to create a rough draft of their design.

    Using recycled and found materials, the students will then construct a structure with the function of reducing the effects of the sun.

    Finally, each group will take their structure out into the sun to test and record their findings in their science journals.

    Groups may make revisions to their structures as needed.


    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    Variation Tips

    Students can watch BrainPOP jr video on the sun as an introduction. Subscription required.

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Books to read to the class:

    Dirt: The Scoop on Soil

    Jump into Science: Sand

    I Love Rocks

    Tape, glue, straws, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, toilet paper tubes, construction paper, fabric, cardboard or any other materials to build with.