5.3 Matter (Light)

The student will investigate and understand basic characteristics of visible light and how it behaves.  Key concepts include:
a) the visible spectrum and light waves;
b) refraction of light through water and prisms;
c) reflection of light from reflective surfaces (mirrors);
d) opaque, transparent, and translucent; and
e) historical contributions in understanding light.

Research Resources:
Making Rainbows
NASA – Light & Color
NASA – Scattering Light
BBC – How We See Things
Web Rangers – Finding Edison
Colors of Light

How We See Things (BBC)

Refraction Movie Shot through Oil and Water

Refraction Movie Shot through Oil and Water with Alphabet Letters

Video from Kennedy Space Center Apollo Center February 11, 2010. Launch of Solar Dynamics Observatory on an Atlas V rocket. About 1 minute 14 seconds after liftoff the vehicle went supersonic. The shock wave obliterated a sun dog. It was really beautiful, and poetic for this mission. A sun dog or parhelion is a bright rainbow effect in the sky caused by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals.

Design Briefs:
Light Scavengers

CCT Suggested Design Briefs

Teacher Name: 5th Grade Science CCTS
Lindsey Thompson, Heather Reid, Lori Seal, Katie Schmid Grade Level:  5th
SOL: 
5.3

Suggested Research Materials:

The research resources listed above and Discovery Science, Curriculum Framework vocabulary and graphics and http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mmedia/optics/ and http://www.solpass.org/5s/AP/5.3scienceactivity.htm

Suggested Design Brief:

The student will investigate and understand basic characteristics of visible light and how it behaves.  Key concepts include:
a) light waves;
b) refraction of light through water
c) reflection of light from reflective surfaces (mirrors);
d) transparent
e) historical contributions in understanding light (René Descartes, Law of Reflection)

Materials: 4 small mirrors, 2 shoe boxes, 1 flashlight, scissors, 1 piece of transparent plastic, 1 glass jar with lid, water, 1 target, masking tape, length of string to help with Law of Reflection in design

Procedure:

  1. cut the short sides from 2 shoe boxes, tape them together to make one large box with an open top
  2. cut a small circle in the side of the box somewhere, this is where you will shine the flashlight into the box
  3. the challenge is to place the 4 mirrors, one transparent plastic piece, and refracting jar of water throughout the box in order to shine the flashlight into the hole, reflect off the various mirrors, transmit through the transparent plastic, and shine onto the target at the end.
  4. When complete, call the teacher over to demonstrate your final successful design.

Suggested Reflection Activity:

  • Discovery Science Explore Reflection
  • Discovery Science Explore Refraction
  • Research optical tools that use mirrors and lenses, such as periscopes, specifically investigating their construction and practical real-world uses.