While we are no longer developing Digital Mysteries and Thinking Kit, we are leaving our website up for those of you interested in the ideas behind the Apps.

Jenny’s Shadow

jennys shaddow app     Jenny's Shaddow


       Subject:         Science, English
       Topic:             The everyday effects of light; Periodic changes; Group discussion and interaction
       Audience:      KS2
       Question:      Why did Jenny lose her shadow?
       Author:          Anne de A’Echevarria


‘Jenny’s Shadow’ can be used within the science curriculum; to support the development of speaking and listening within the English curriculum; and can also be used to foster the development of generic higher order thinking skills.

18 slips are provided in the task – these cover the story of Jenny and her friends doing an experiment at school, scientific facts with playful illustrations, background information on the activity and some red herrings. Some of these involve basic diagrams, tables and mini maps to help students come to a conclusion.


The mystery could be used to develop and reinforce understanding of the everyday effects of light (that light travels from a source; that light cannot pass through some materials, and how this leads to the formation of shadows; that light is reflected from surfaces), as well as periodic changes - how the position of the Sun appears to change during the day, and how shadows change as this happens.

This task may also be useful to stimulate discussion relevant to the theme of scientific enquiry, as pupils use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain Jenny’s and her friends’ observations, to evaluate their work and describe its limitations.


The mystery could also be used to support the development of group discussion and interaction, as well as the development of generic thinking skills.

Among others, learning objectives for science might include developing understanding that:

  • light travels from a source
  • light cannot pass through some materials, and how this leads to the formation of shadows
  • light is reflected from some surfaces

There is also the added learning outcome of using their scientific knowledge which they have gained prior to, or during, this task, to explore, explain and discuss Jenny’s experiment and her findings.


  • To take turns in speaking
  • To relate their contributions to what has gone on before - building on the ideas of others
  • To take different views into account
  • To extend their ideas in the light of discussion
  • Thinking skills
  • To justify ideas with reasons
  • To form a well-structured explanation
  • To speculate and draw inferences from information