Year 1 Unit Study: Light and Dark!

Year 1 Unit Study: Light and Dark!

Our second theme for Year 1 was Light and Dark. This is a fantastic theme to cover in your Year 1 Homeschool as it covers the Science objectives from the National Curriculum. After 6 weeks of learning, my children absolutely loved this theme. We covered darkness, shadows, light, sources of light, history of light sources, nocturnal animals and so much more. So here’s a break down of what we did:


science, light and dark, homeschooling, shadows, dark



Week 1: Darkness, Night time and Shadows



We started the week with the story of A Dark, Dark Tale. We found a really good reading of it on YouTube which you can check out here. Of course the girls were really scared but still

managed to listen to it a few times. (I had switched off all the lights and made the room completely dark as we were listening :)) They enjoyed the repetitive nature of the story and then made up their own! We also looked at the story The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark and spoke about how we feel about the dark.



In Science we focused on darkness. We talked about it being difficult to see in the dark. We also used our other senses to help us see in the dark, or make our way around a room. We set up our Theme display area and began some science experiments. We focused on shadows. We looked at how light cannot pass through some materials and that’s how shadows are created. We also played a little shadow puppets play.


Week 2: Sources of Light


This week we focused on light sources and found the book Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? fit perfectly with what we were doing this week. We decided to focus on speech bubbles and used the story to help write what the characters were saying. We followed up by making our own lanterns which we lit up using electric tea lights.


We focused on light sources, the ones we have at home, those man made and those that are natural light sources. We explored the ones that are brightest and looked at things are not light sources. We ended the week with a fabulous meet up with friends by camping in the dark.

Camping in the Dark!

To really enjoy this theme, we planned a fun and exciting day where my kids and their friends would enjoy camping at night. They explored light sources some more just after they watched the sun set. We enjoyed a bbq, lighting sparklers, glow in the dark paint star stamping, drawing a chalk sunset and even a treasure hunt in the dark. It’s a fab day that you can have out in the garden to truly celebrate this theme! The experience of being outdoors in the dark, under the moonlight is truly magical for children, especially with their friends!


Week 3: Light Sources over time


We looked at a lovely story Princess Noura and the Monster in the Sky (Princess Series) where my kids became really fascinated by fireflies. We also focused on a verse from the Quran where Allah describes noor  – light. We decided to make our own home-made candles using wax crayons. The girls wrote up their set of instructions at the end. .


We made a history of light sources timeline to understand what people used as light in the dark in the olden days (as my kids call it). We also looked at what happens when we melt crayons and how to make candles.


Week 4: Sun, Moon and Stars


We started by reading the story Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me  by Eric Carle. This is one of girls’ all time favourite stories, so they were excited we had including it in our theme. We pretended to put ourselves in the shoes of the little girl and imagined what it was like asking Papa to get the moon and when we actually got to play with the moon. We finished with some diary writing to help us organise our ideas.



We looked back at our phases of the moon diary from Ramadan and thought about the light source in space. We talked a little about the moon being a reflection of light from the sun – we planned do focus in on reflection of light next week.


Islamic Studies:

We looked at the story of Prophet Ibrahim and the questions he had about Allah as a young boy. This story fit perfectly with our focused learning this week. We used the Migo and Ali: Love for the Prophets book and finished writing a summary of the story for our Prophet’s Stories timeline – more on our Islamic Studies projects can be found here.

Week 5: Light Effects


We used the week to design and make our own reflective clothing ready for our Reflective Clothing Fashion Show! The girls LOVE anything related to dressing up, so this was a right treat. We began the week by designing our clothing. We talked a little about using shiny paper or fluorescent paper and experimented with what we were planning to use, by taking it into a dark room with a torch to see how much of it we could see. It was a fab way to come to conclusions and experiment with fabric and paper. We did have builders jackets at hand to show them how visible they are at night and why people may wear them.



Week 6: Nocturnal Animals


In our final week of Light and Dark, we looked at Nocturnal Animals. Already huge fans of The Tales of Peter Rabbit, my girls loved talking about all the characters in the book/tv show and deciding whether they were nocturnal or not! We began by looking at the owl, reading up facts and answering comprehension questions. Following on from this we focused on research in Literacy, finding out about  a chosen nocturnal animal to present to their friends. We looked online, in videos and on Google, in our book collections to find out all we could about the hedgehog and owl (the ones my girls were doing). The presented their findings on a poster and by dressing up as their animal and talking about what they found out.


We focused on drawing nocturnal animals over the course of a few weeks for our final nocturnal animals display. The girls enjoyed the How to draw sheets by artprojectsforkids. and were able to add to our display on Nocturnal Animals below. They were super proud of their final Art Gallery!



And there you have our 6 week Unit on Light and Dark aimed at Year 1, but easily adaptable to other children in your family. My 3 yr old enjoyed this unit just as much as her 5 yr old sister 🙂


science, light and dark, homeschooling, shadows, dark


Are you planning to do this Unit study? Let us know how you get on! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, and any suggestions you may have for us too 🙂






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