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What Can Light Move Through?

Tonya Keene August 4, 1999

Brief Description of the Lesson: This lesson focuses on what objects and materials light may or may not pass through. In this lesson, students will experiment with different materials and will observe what materials do and do not allow light to pass through. Students will record their predictions and observations on a data chart and will also use creative drama to depict how light does or does not pass through transparent, translucent, and opaque materials. This is science lesson that will allow students to manipulate materials in order to establish what materials light will and will not pass through. Grade Level: This lesson would be appropriate for the first grade curriculum because students will demonstrate attitudes necessary for scientific investigation such as curiosity, readiness to learn from experiences, and willingness to postpone final judgment and will use the following science skills: observing, communicating, classifying, comparing, and predicting (according to the Alabama Course of Study for Science). Background Information: Light is a form of energy. There are many different sources for this form of energy. The sun is one form of this energy. The sun, which is a star, produces nearly all of the earths light. Very hot gases whirl around inside the sun and glow very brightly. This gives out (emits) light. All hot things give out light. Even humans emit invisible infrared lights. Other natural sources of light include lightning, fire, and the other stars. Some chemical reactions give out light. For example, fireflies and some deepsea fish glow as the result of chemical reactions. Humans also create light. This light is known as artificial light and includes burning fuel in lamps and producing electricity for light bulbs.

Without light, it would be impossible to see! Our human eyes work just like cameras. The eye is shaped like a ball with a lens inside about the size of a pea. When looking at something, light enters through a small hole called the pupil. The pupil is in the iris, which is the colored part of the eye. The light passes through the lens and focuses onto a layer at the back of the eye called the retina. In the retina, there are light sensitive chemicals, which transform light into electrical messages. These messages are then passed on to the brain by the optic nerve. The brain decodes this message and finds out exactly what is being looked at and how far away it is. When a ray of light hits an object, it may or may not pass through the object. Whether or not light passes through depends on the material used by the object. Transparent materials allow rays of light to pass through. A small amount of the striking light does reflect which enables us to see the position of the surface of the material. Examples include clear glass, clear plastic, and water. Some materials are translucent. These materials allow light to pass through but scatter the rays in all directions. Tissue paper and some types of glass are translucent. Opaque materials soak up (absorb) most of the light. A very tiny amount of light is reflected which allows us to see the object. Examples of opaque materials include wood and brick. Concepts:

The clear plastic wrap let light pass through it it was transparent. (no. 11) The wax paper let some light pass through it it was translucent. (no. 11 ) The cardboard piece and book did not let light pass through it it was opaque. (no. 11 ) Shadows formed behind the materials that did not allow light to pass through. (no. 4)

Materials and Equipment:


10 pieces of 6 inch aluminum squares 10 pieces of 6 inch wax paper squares 10 pieces of 6 inch clear plastic wrap squares 10 pieces of 6 inch cardboard squares 1 book of any type per two students 10 flashlights data chart (teacher created) for each student pencil KWL chart (teacher created and ongoing from previous lessons)

Drawing paper Crayons

Procedures: Have you ever wondered what type of materials and objects light can and cannot pass through? Have you ever wondered what an object needs to make a shadow? Today we are going to experiment with different materials. Like real scientists, we are going to make predictions, experiment, and then record our observations. 1. [Assign students to partners.] Each set of partners should have 6 inch by 6 inch square pieces of aluminum foil, wax paper, clear plastic wrap, and cardboard. Each set should also have some type of book, a flashlight, and a data chart. Ask students to predict what materials they think light will and will not pass through. Record these predictions onto the data chart. Ask students to predict what materials might cast shadows also record these predictions. 2. Allow students to experiment with the different materials. Using the flashlight, students should hold the materials and shine the flashlight directly at the material and note whether or not it allowed light to pass through and whether or not it created a shadow. Ask students to record their observations onto their data charts. 3. [Ask students to join the colloquium.] Ask students to share their observations. What materials allowed light to pass through? Which materials did not allow light to pass through? Why do you think this is so? Why do you think some materials had shadows? NOTE: If at all possible, the teacher should allow these ideas to arise among the childrens own discussion. 4. [After colloquium, ask students to return to their seats.] Teacher will ask for four volunteers to represent a transparent material (or a material that allows light to pass through) such as a piece of clear glass. Then two additional students will represent

the light. Teacher will then ask four more volunteers to represent a translucent piece of material such as a piece of wax paper and two additional students will dramatize the light. In the last creative drama, the teacher will ask four students to represent an opaque material such as a piece of cardboard. Two additional students will act the part of the light. In the first drama, transparent students should allow the light to pass through. In the second drama, translucent students should allow some light but not all to pass through. In the third drama, opaque students should not allow any light to pass through. 5. Ask students what they have learned from todays lesson. On KWL chart, write down facts or ideas that children recall under the Learned section. If needed, mark out ideas the students listed under Know, but they have now disproved. Also, if necessary add more items under the Want section of the KWL chart. Assessment:

Students will correctly dramatize light passing or not passing through transparent, translucent, and opaque materials. Each individual student will draw a representation of each type of material (transparent, translucent, and opaque) and the light passing/not passing through it and will write down one example of each type of material from the classroom not used in the experiment.

Useful Internet Resources: <http://sln.fi.edu/tfi/hotlists/light.html>

This is a great educational website for science. Although educational, children will find it enjoyable as it lists different games to play or different experiments to attempt. It also discusses optical modules with color and the artist Bob Millers "Light Walker". Process Skills:

Students will predict what materials will and will not allow light to pass through and which will cast shadows. Students will observe the passing or non-passing of light through materials.

Reflection of "What Can Light Move Through?" Science Lesson

My students thoroughly enjoyed this lesson, and I believe that they learned a lot from it also. However, at the beginning of the lesson, I thought that everything was going wrong and that they were not going to learn anything! To begin with, I had already placed the materials (aluminum squares, wax paper squares, cardboard squares and flashlights) on the students desks. This was a big mistake! The students were unable to pay attention to my directions because they were so intrigued with the different materials especially the flashlights! I asked the students to not touch and play with the flashlights. However, they are first graders and the idea of shining a flashlight straight into your teachers face is just too tempting! It took me a while to calm the students down enough for me to give directions. I had given each student a data chart (transparency copy is included with lesson plan). I tried to make the data chart as simple as possible. However, my students are not prepared to read and write legibly. Therefore, the date chart confused the entire class! I did, however, go over the prediction and data chart with my students on the overhead. I think this helped to clear up some of the confusion, but some students were still lost. However, although the students became very nervous and upset about having to fill in the data chart, I think most understood what they were being asked to predict and observe. They just did not want to write anything down. I have noticed in this class that they do not like to use inventive spelling they want to be perfect! As I walked around the classroom trying to help students fill in their data charts, I would ask them "What do you think will happen when the light hits the clear plastic wrap?" Consistently, every student would

tell me that they thought the light would pass through the material. However, I would then notice that this same student would not write down his/her predication. Also, because I had already passed out the materials, I caught some of the students "cheating" and testing out their predictions before they would attempt to write them down. From this, I definitely learned to wait to pass out materials until the teacher has finished going over the directions and etc. Or a teacher, to save time, could already have the materials out on the desk, but he/she would pull the students to a different area of the room to introduce the topic and to receive directions. I allowed the students to experiment with the different materials and the flashlights. Once again, the students became so enthralled with the materials and the flashlights that most did not even bother to fill out the data chart. Most students began to immediately shine their flashlights on the ceiling, whirling them around in patterns or shining them on their partners. I was extremely disappointed, and I thought that my lesson was going to be a complete failure. I thought that they were not learning anything. Then, I heard one of the students ask his partner the question, "Do you think the flashlight is going through the ceiling?" And his partner replied, "I dont think the light can go through the ceiling. Do you? Because then the light from the sun would be hitting us now." The students may not have been using the provided materials exactly as I had planned, but they were learning the desired concepts. Since, I had caught on to this conversation, I asked for the attention of all of my students. I asked did they think that the light from the flashlight could go through the ceiling. It became an impromptu experiment and helped to refocus the attention of the class back onto the lesson. Once the students experimented with the ceiling, they wanted to know what other materials light would and would not pass through. I noticed the noise level going down and the students began to experiment with the materials on their tables. After experimenting with these materials, some students asked (yes, actually raised their hand and asked) if they could experiment with other materials like their crayon boxes, their desks, and even themselves! My students were actually excited by the experiment and wanted to learn more. Therefore, within reason, I let my students experiment with different types of materials. All of the sudden, my students were quietly discussing their findings. They did not want anyone else to hear what they had observed. However, one group (Group 1) was arguing that the light did shine through a book. Another group (Group 2) was disagreeing and saying that the light would not shine through the book. The group that said the light would not shine through the book asked the other group to come and watch their experiment. As expected, the light did not shine through the book. Group 1 then realized that they had been seeing the light from another groups flashlight. Although, I believe that the students were getting the concepts, I still noticed that most

were not filling out their data charts. They were very intimidated by these charts. As a result, I know the next that I teach this lesson, I will make the data chart easier by either using pictures or by allowing the students to place a check by an item if the light did or did not pass through. After the students experimented, I called the students back to the colloquium (or the Big Circle as we called it in class). Before everyone even had the chance to sit down, a child said, "Ms. Keene, the light did not go through the cardboard, the aluminum foil, or the wax paper!" Immediately, another student countered, "It did too go through the waxy paper just not a lot!" I did not even have to spur the kids into a discussion. They were very eager to share their findings. If a student said something the other students were very respectful and if they disagreed they said so. Many students disagreed about whether or not light would pass though the wax paper. One student suggested that we try it out. Another student said, "Can we turn out the lights so we can see if the light shines through?" We completed the experiment, and the students were able to conclude that a small amount of light would pass through the wax paper. Before the lesson, I had discussed with my cooperating teacher, Ms. East, about introducing the words transparent, translucent, and opaque. We agreed that although the words were big words for first graders that they should still be introduced if the occasion arose. It was always a possibility that the students would catch onto the words. Therefore, during the Big Circle, when the occasion warranted it, I would introduce the words. To assess my students, I asked for volunteers to participate in a creative drama. I decided to attempt to use the words of transparent, translucent, and opaque. For example, I asked one set of volunteers to act out how light would hit an opaque material. To my great surprise, the students who were acting out light would run towards the material and then run away! Due to the talking and distractions at the beginning of the lesson, I had thought my lesson was awful! However, I began to see that my students did understand the concepts I had listed in my lesson plan. Eventually, all students came to recognize that light would not pass through the aluminum foil and the cardboard, but bounced back from the cardboard. All students also recognized that the light easily passed through the clear plastic wrap and that the light only went through the wax paper a little. To formally assess my students, I asked them to draw the three different situations for me transparent, translucent, and opaque. It was amazing how well they understood the concepts. Many students had very detailed drawings showing how the light would or would not pass through. Most students even attempted to sound out words on their

drawings. I believe that this occurred because they felt more confident in themselves due to the hands-on lesson. The students began to consider themselves as real scientists in their classroom.

This lesson provided by: Author: TracyAnn Reece System: St Clair County School: Springville Elementary School Lesson Plan ID: Title: Overview/Annotation: 23801 Light Is The students will explore the properties of light in order to understand optics. Students will do two activities that will aid with their mastery of this concept. This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation. EL(5) 26. Know and apply principles of grammar and usage in writing, speaking, and presenting and apply mechanics in writing. 32. Use computers for expression. 34. Organize and present information in visual, oral, and/or print form. 3. Recognize that light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object. 5. Contrast ways in which light rays are bent by concave and convex lenses. 8. Express meaning through writing varied sentence structure, detailed paragraphs, and multiparagraph compositions in an organized manner. 11. Use search strategies in the research process to identify reliable current resources and computer technology to locate information. 11. Use digital tools to analyze authentic problems.

Content Standard(s):

EL(5) EL(5) SC(2) SC(5) ELA(5)

ELA(5)

TC2(3-5) Local/National Standards:

NATIONAL CONTENT STANDARD B: As a result of the activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of Properties of objects and materials Position and

motion of objects Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism Primary Learning Objective(s): Additional Learning Objective(s): The students will demonstrate and explain how wavelengths combine and separate using various activities. The students will use a variety of resources including the internet, Powerpoint, and Blogspot to express concepts learned.

Approximate Duration of Greater than 120 Minutes the Lesson: Materials and Equipment: Each group of students will need the following supplies: ~ pushpin ~ pencil w/ eraser ~ rulers ~ scissors ~ markers or crayons in red, orange,yellow, green, blue, and violet ~ uncoated white paper plate (dessert or lunch size) ~ white paper ~ 4 clear plastic cups ~ water ~ flashlight ~ 4 cotton swabs ~ newspaper ~ red, yellow, green, and blue food coloring ~ electronic science journal (a notebook could be used instead) ~ masking tape ~ 4 foot piece of string ~ 8 foot piece of string Computer with word processing software such as MS Word; internet access, Powerpoint or other presentation software.

Technology Resources Needed:

Background/Preparation: Optics is the science of light, and how light behaves and interacts with matter. All students will need to set up an electronic journal on some sort of word processing program, or on a site such as Blogspot or Wiki. Before starting this lesson, students will need to define the following terms in their science journals: electromagnetic radiation, visible light, ultraviolet light, infrared light, wavelength, frequency, trough, crest Discuss Roy G. Biv with students as an easy way to remember the order of the light spectrum. Procedures/Activities: 1.)Day 1 say, "To understand optics, first you need to understand light. Light is a form of energy made up of electric and magnetic fields called electromagnetic radiation. Where do you think light comes from? (wait for responses that may include, but are not limited tothe sun, the stars, camp fires, lightning, flashlights, and even some living creatures like lightning bugs and some deep sea fish.) There are different types of light: visible light, ultraviolet light, and infrared light. Usually, visible light looks white, but is it really? Today, in your exploratory groups, you are going to investigate this question." At this point, write the following questions on the board: "Is visible light white? How do you know?" Then give each student a copy of the Spinning Your Color Wheels activity sheet (see attachment). 2.)Day 2 Say, "Yesterday, we discussed what light was and why light appears to be white. Today, we're going to discuss how light

travels. Did you know that light travels in waves? Now, I'm not talking about the type of waves you see at the beach, but that does kind of help us to visualize what a light wave may look like. Light waves come in lots of different sizes. Sometimes the waves are very close to each other, and sometimes they're spaced very far apart. So here's where the ocean waves come in handy. Think about the waves, if you measured the distance from the crest, or top, of one wave, to the crest of the next wave, you've measured one wavelength. If you then count how many waves you see in a given amount of time, like one minute for example, you will know the frequency of the waves. The fewer the waves per minute the lower the frequency. The greater the waves per minute, the higher the frequency. Still a little confused? Take a look at this electromagnetic spectrum chart (see URL link to Electromagnetic Spectrum)." At this point, bring up the webpage and give a brief overview of the page. Later during station time, let students use the computer to investigate wavelengths a little more in depth. Say, "Here are the key points to know: 1. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency. 2. The higher the frequency, the greater the energy. Now demonstrate to students that shorter wavelengths have more energy by using your classroom floor. Put down two pieces of masking tape two feet apart on the floor to indicate the distance the light will travel in one second. Next, use a four foot piece of string to represent the energy in a light wave with a long rolling wavelength that connects the two pieces of tape on the floor. Then, use a piece of piece of string that is eight feet long to represent a lightwave with a short wavelength that connects the two pieces of tape on the floor in an extreme zig-zag pattern. Even though both of the light waves covered the same amount of space in a given amount of time, the long wavelength did not contain as much energy as the short wavelength. You can show this to the students by having two pairs of students pick up the two strings(which represent the amount of energy in the wavelength)and stretch them out. The string with the short wavelength will be longer than the string with the long wavelength, therefore indicating that the string with the short wavelength has more energy. Say, "Now, we're going to take what we've learned about wavelengths to complete an activity in our exploratory groups." (pass out attached activity sheet titled Mix and Match) Go over the procedures and make sure each group has the materials they will need to complete the activity. Assist any group as needed. Also, be sure to ask question and guide discussion while groups are working on the activity. Once each group has completed the activity and has finished

recording their observations in their science journals say, "You've just mixed different wavelengths together. When you were looking into the red water as it was held above a yellow dot, you saw two wavelengths at the same time. The wavelengths for red and yellow combined to make orange, which is the color you saw. Visible light contains Roy G. Biv, with 3 of the 7 colors being what we call primary colors. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. Primary colors can be combined to make the other colors of the rainbow. For example, red and yellow make orange. Look at where orange is in ROY. (Write this on the board using the coordinating colors, for example the R in Roy should be written in Red) Now what colors make green? Is the order of the colors in a rainbow a coincidence?" Help students analyze and explain how primary colors are ordered in the light spectrum, and how their location creates the secondary colors in between. Also, lead them to find a pattern in Roy G. Biv (Primary, Secondary, Primary, Secondary, etc.) (Electromagnetic Spectrum) This website gives a great explanation of the Electromagnetic Spectrum and gives a visual representation that makes it easier for young students to make connections. Attachments:**Some files Spinning Your Color Wheels Activity.doc will display in a new MiX aNd MaTcH.doc window. Others will prompt you to download. Assessment Strategies: The students' science journals are a quick and easy assessment tool to use. Also, if you feel it's necessary, a quiz could be created to check for vocabulary comprehension. Have students paint a picture using only secondary colors, but only provide primary colored paint for them to use.

Extension: Rem