Introduction to Light: An Illuminating Day!

This week, students explored the nature of LIGHT.  Light is a form of energy that travels in waves, and different types of light have characteristic wavelengths.   We see different colors because each color of light has a different wavelength. You may remember the mnemonic “ROY G BIV”, which helps remind people the order of colors in the rainbow. We also call those colors of light visible light because they are the wavelengths that we can see. Other animals can see light outside of the range of visible light. Bees can see ultraviolet or UV light, while fish can see infrared light!

The students modeled a light wave using a rope, and learned that short wavelength, high frequency, and high energy all go together.  A series of activity stations helped reinforce their understanding of reflection and refraction, the differences between transparent, translucent, and opaque objects, and why and how we perceive different colors.

Additional Information:

To examine the different light spectra produced by different light sources  (incandescent vs. fluorescent bulbs, LEDs, and sunlight) make a spectrometer at home using this link:  http://orbitingfrog.com/2008/07/02/make-your-own-spectrometer/

Two notes:  1) use folded aluminum foil instead of razor blades for the slit, 2) It’s helpful to score the CD with a blade (a job for parents) before breaking it, and to cover it with a towel while you snap it, to keep pieces from scattering.  Once broken, the CD pieces are easy to trim with a scissors.

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