Science from stories

Resource Info

Basic Information

Children love to listen to stories. In schools, stories are narrated with the purpose of improving language or imparting morals to children. Stories are, therefore, restricted to language and moral science classes. But have you ever thought of using stories to teach a subject like science? 

Lesson plan Details

03 hours 00 mins

Shadows are an interesting topic for little children to explore. How and why are shadows formed? Do shadows ever change in size and shape?  And where do vegetables come from? How do they help us get our daily nutrition? You can help children find answers to these questions and more with the ideas, activities, and stories in this lesson plan. 

  • To introduce the topics of shadows and vegetables in a fun and creative way.
  • To explore the above mentioned topics through hands-on activities.
  • To develop a child’s imagination.
  • To understand the science that is involved in the topics mentioned.

Science from stories

Nothing wins a child’s heart like a good story. In addition to entertainment, a well-structured story offers rich stimulus for developing a child’s imagination and investigational skills. This lesson plan explores the possibility of using stories as tools to teach science.

Step 1: Reading 1: The Donkey’s Saviour

To start with here is a story “The Donkey’s Saviour”. You could narrate it to the class, using the illustration provided here. The story could be a good starting point for a lesson on shadows.


It was a very hot day. The donkey had no rest for the last one week. Its master was a very cruel man. He gave very little food and water to the donkey, but beat him soundly and made him work very hard all day. The donkey’s job was to carry travellers and their luggage across the ragged road to the next village. On one hot day, the donkey was lugging a fat traveler and his two huge bags.

At mid-day, the donkey felt tired and stopped for some rest. As there was no shade nearby, the traveller sat in the donkey’s shadow. The donkey’s master too wanted to sit in the shadow. So he said to the traveler, “The donkey is mine, so is his shadow. You have paid only for the donkey to carry you to the next town. So let me sit in its shadow.” The enraged traveller said, “I have paid for the services of the donkey. Since its shadow cannot be separated from it, I have the right to use its shadow too.”


While the two men were fighting over its shadow, the donkey made its escape from the fat traveller and the cruel master.



How is a shadow formed?

This question could be complicated for young minds. In such a case, you can ask the children if they can see their shadows in a classroom that is dark. Then make them stand in the sunlight outside the classroom. Can they see their shadows now?

What do we need to form a shadow? We need an object and light from the sun, moon, or another light source. Shadows are created when an object interrupts the passage of light. Explain to the children that they, as objects, interrupt the passage of the light, hence a shadow is formed in the place where the light is blocked.

Do shadows fall in the same place or direction all through the day? Allow children to hypothesize in the beginning. Then, make them stand in a clear spot in the sun at different times of the day. Provide them a chart and ask them to mark the size and shape of the shadow.



(size and shape)







An interesting activity for the children would be to investigate why shadows are of different sizes at different times of the day. Remember to tell the children that this activity they do will be influenced by two things—the time of the day and the time of the year.

Shadows are long when the sun is low (morning) and short when the sun is high (like in the noon). Shadows are also longer in winter than in summer

And does the time of the day or the position of the light source decide where an object’s shadow should fall? Given below is an incomplete illustration. Ask children to complete it by drawing the shadow at the place you think it should fall. 


You can conclude the lesson by asking children to write a short summary on shadows. A short story or a poem could also be written with ‘My favorite shadow’ as the topic. In order to help children in this activity, provide a list of words necessary to write about shadows.

















An activity that the children would love is to make shadow figures on a wall using hands. Here are a few possible figures that one could make.




Step 2: Reading 2: The Clever Potato

The Clever Potato

Rinki hated vegetables. Her mother tried her best to make Rinki eat them but Rinki rejected all vegetable dishes with an outright “NO”. Her mother was worried for her.

One day Rinki’s mother prepared cucumber halwa, which turned out to be most delicious. Rinki’s younger sister, Neelu, could hardly resist eating every morsel of the halwa. Her father too was all praises for it. But Rinki only twitched her nose in disgust. Her mother was hurt. But more hurt was the Cucumber itself. The Potato noticed it brooding in a corner.

“Hey, why do you look so sad?” asked the Potato. “Rinki has once again rejected me without even giving me a chance,” cried the Cucumber.


“Why, she hurled me across the table the other day. That impudent girl should be taught a lesson,” said the Cauliflower angrily. The Potato smiled and said, “Well, I have an idea.”

The next day when Rinki came to the breakfast table, her glass of milk was waiting for her. To her surprise the sweet milk tasted bitter – the Potato had made the Bittergourd squeeze in some of its juice! Rinki could do nothing about it as she was already late for school. She grabbed her lunch box and headed for the bus.

At lunch-time, she eagerly opened her box of dosas, but they turned out to be too salty to eat. The Potato had poured a whole glass of salt into the dough! When Rinki came home in the evening she was too hungry to even speak. She went straight to the ice cream kept in the freezer. To her disgust the ice cream was sour! The Potato had squeezed lemon juice in it. Angry and unable to bear the hunger, Rinki grabbed the next dish available in the fridge. It was the cucumber halwa. “God help me! Why didn’t I realize it would be so delicious?” exclaimed Rinki after a while. In no time the entire dish was empty. From then, Rinki turned over a new leaf. She NEVER said ‘NO’ to any vegetable.

It is true that vegetables are not hot favorites with young children. But they form an important part of our diet. They provide proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and fats essential to keep our body fit. Vegetables are obtained from different part of a plant.

Ask the children to name a few familiar vegetables. A worthwhile exercise would be to classify these vegetables according to the parts of the plant to which they belong.

Parts of the plant







Plantain stem




Tomato / Cucumber


Garden pea



Where do we get our vegetables? “From the market,” is a predictable answer. Can the children guess what the vegetable farmer uses to make his vegetables fresh and healthy? It is important to talk to the children about the harmful effects of fertilizers and pesticides. Fertilizers and pesticides ensure the fit growth of vegetables, but they also harm us. Tell the children about the necessity of washing vegetables properly before eating. 

All vegetables are found throughout the year. Ask the children to make a list of vegetables found in certain seasons.










What do vegetables need in order to grow healthily? Sufficient light, good soil, and water. If your school has some space for a small garden, get children to plant a vegetable seed. Allow them to nurture it over the weeks. If you do not have access to a garden, then vegetables could be grown in large pots or bags. Let the children measure the growth of the plant each week and make a note of it. In a few weeks time, the children will be proud owners of their vegetables.

Just like stories, poems could also be used as a stimulus to investigate science. For example, poems describing the seaside can lead the children to explore various objects and matter available near the sea, such as the sand, shells, and water. Using stories or poems, most of all, will help the teacher to sustain the interest of the children for a longer period of time.

This article first appeared in Teacher Plus, Issue No.52, January-February 1998 and has been adapted here with changes.


ambika's picture

good lesson plan

saravanan's picture

We as a teacher need lots of model lesson plans because there is a advancement in all areas. So we need the advancement in lesson plan preparation also. Practically the class is for only one hour. So the lesson plans with one hour duration helps us lot.

editor_kn's picture

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