Light Reflection, Transmission, and Absorption


Light Reflection, Transmission, and Absorption (3rd-5th)

This lesson introduces students to the idea that reflected or emitted light is the only thing we see; we perceive this phenomenon as seeing objects. Students will explore how white light interacts with various objects. They will then observe that white light is made of all the colors of light, and will finish by exploring how filters can block all but one color of light, connecting this to the ideas of light absorption and transmission.

SKU: Physics-LightRefTranAbs Category: Tags: , , , , , ,


Lesson Overview

Students will:

  • Observe that light is what we see using the laser beam which can be seen when reflected off talcum powder
  • Explore what happens when light hits an object (transmission/reflection), what white light is made of (using water and glass), and what happens when we use color filters (transmission/absorption)
    • After each section, have students explain what is happening in that exploration 
  • Tie everything together by viewing different-colored objects through filters
  • Learn about light refraction using a cup of water and drawn arrows

Lesson Objectives 

Students will be able to:

  • Draw and explain diagrams of light interacting with objects
  • Predict what colors of light are transmitted and absorbed by a colored filter

This lesson is aligned with these Next Generation Science (NGS) Standards.

Standards Covered

Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI)

PS4 Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer – PS4.B Electromagnetic radiation 

  •  (3rd-5th) Objects can be seen when light reflected from their surface enters our eyes

Science & Engineering Practice (SEP) 

Developing and Using Models

  • (3rd-5th) Develop a model using an abstract representation to describe a scientific principle

Constructing Explanations

  • (3rd-5th) Use evidence (e.g., measurements, observations, patterns) to construct or support an explanation

Crosscutting Concept (CCC)

Energy and Matter

  • (3rd-5th) Patterns can be used as evidence to support an explanation
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