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How Light

Works
A resource guide for Grade 6 Teachers
Donna Piscopo

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CONTENTS

Introduction...........................................................................................................page 3

Student learning outcomes.................................................................................page 4

Experiments:

1. Building a Spectroscope (with questions & answers).................page 5

2. Agar and Optics..................................................................................page 15

3. Building a Periscope...........................................................................page 18

4. The Target Game (with questions & answers)..............................page 22

5. Reflections in spoons (with questions & answers)......................page 28

6. Internal Reflection and Streaming Water...................................page 36

7. The Photoelectric Effect.................................................................page 38

8. Simple Eye............................................................................................page 40

9. Panting with Light...............................................................................page 43

10. Peppers Ghost.....................................................................................page 47

Activities/worksheets.........................................................................................page 49

Games:

Lotto Game................................................................................................page 56

Crossword Puzzle......................................................................................page 63

Word Find...................................................................................................page 64

Game Answers...........................................................................................page 65

Glossary..................................................................................................................page 66

Resources...............................................................................................................page 68

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Brief Introduction to the Topic:

Light is everywhere in our world. We need it to see: it carries information from the world
to our eyes and brains. Seeing colours and shapes is second nature to us, yet not everyone
knows the intricacies behind this every day gift.

Here are some things to think about:

 Our brains and eyes act together to make extraordinary things happen in
perception.
 Light acts like particles—little light bullets—that stream from the source. This
explains how shadows work.
 Light also acts like waves—ripples in space—instead of bullets. This explains how
rainbows work. In fact, light is both. This "wave-particle duality" is one of the most
confusing—and wonderful—principles of physics.

Scientists have spent lifetimes developing consistent physical, biological, chemical, and
mathematical explanations for these principles. But we can start on the road to deeper
understanding without all the equations by acting as scientists do: making observations,
performing experiments, and testing what we see.

The activities in this resource guide are designed to give you ideas about light—and how
certain concepts can be taught through the use of experiments and observations. For the
purpose of this resource, experiments, lessons and activities focus at the fact that light
travels in waves.

These activities will explore the concepts and answer the questions of:

 How does light travel?


 What is light made of?
 Why do we see colour?
 What is out there that we cannot see?
 What do our eyes have to do with light?
 Can light be manipulated?
 How is light manipulated?

http://www.learner.org/teacherslab/science/light/

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Student Learning Outcomes:

Learning Outcome: Experiment Title & Number

Light travels as waves. Spectroscope: 1


Spectroscope: 1
Light travels in straight lines. Building a Periscope: 3
Target Game: 4
To know that light is white and can be split into the spectrum of
colours Spectroscope: 1

To know and understand how light allows us to see colour


Spectroscope: 1
To know and understand how the eye works
Simple Eye: 8

Waves differ in their frequency, amplitude & wavelength. Spectroscope: 1

There are many different types of light, for example coloured


Spectroscope: 1
light.

Different types of light vary in frequency and are therefore


Spectroscope: 1
more powerful.

Atoms contain electrons that absorb energy and get excited. Photoelectric effect: 7

Atoms can have a ground state and an excited state. Photoelectric effect: 7

Atoms emit energy and absorb energy. Photoelectric effect: 7

Monochromatic light can be reflected, deflected, absorbed and Building a Periscope: 3


refracted. Target Game: 4

Concave lenses diverge light. Agar & Optics: 2

Convex lenses converge light. Agar & Optics: 2

Concave mirrors converge light. Reflections in spoons: 5

Convex mirrors diverge light. Reflections in spoons: 5

Light can be internally reflected Internal Reflection: 6

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Experiment 1: ‘Building a Spectroscope’

This activity aims to show students that white light (light from the sun) is made up of the
colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Students should correlate this
Aim:
information by recognising these colours as the colours of the rainbow. By the end of this
experiment students should be able to explain what coloured light is and how it is that a prism
or spectroscope allows us to see these colours.

Materials:

 X1 DVD or CD disk
Students will be
 Pencil
constructing a
spectroscope. This is
 Scissors a device that acts like
a prism and splits light
 Black cardboard into its component
colours.
 X1 Toilet roll

 Light source (Window)

Method
Diagram:

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Method:

1. Place the end of a toilet roll against the CD or DVD and trace around the edge of the roll so
you have a circle drawn on the front side of the CD or DVD.

2. Cut out the circle

3. By either peeling off or sanding off, remove the paper layer of the CD or DVD so you have 2
smooth shiny surfaces.

4. Glue this CD circle to one end of the toilet role.

5. Cut out two rectangles of black cardboard (approx. 5cm x 3cm) and stick these rectangles
to the other end of the toilet roll leaving space between them no more than 1mm.

6. Cut around the edges of the rectangles so the edges are circular.

7. Hold the spectroscope up to a light source (window) and look through the slit side of the
roll. Take note of what you see.

Community Based Science Lab Notes

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Questions:

1. What was acting as the „white light‟ source in this activity?

2. What can white light or „sunshine‟ be broken down into?

3. What does the blank DVD disk represent in your spectroscope and what is its
purpose?

4. Why do you only leave a very small slit in the eye piece of the spectroscope?

5. What does the acronym ROY.G.BIV stand for?

6. Where in nature are these colours seen and how does this natural effect
occur?

7. Do the colours seen in the spectroscope (or a rainbow) always appear in the
order of ROY.G.BIV?

a. Why or why not?

8. Would the spectroscope produce the same effect if the light source you were
using produced a particular colour for example a red light bulb?

Fill in the blanks using the words: Straight, Sun, Waves, Earth

9. Light travels from the ___ to the _____ in _______ lines. It does so in a
____ like motion.

Obtain a copy of the Electromagnetic spectrum (refer to your background


information notes)

10. Waves have amplitude, a wavelength and oscillations. Can you draw a simple
wave and label these structures?

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11. Can you briefly write a small paragraph about „waves‟ using the words: Wave,
wavelength, frequency, oscillation, energy and amplitude.

12. Waves have different frequencies. When you look at the electromagnetic
spectrum which side (left or right) has wavelengths with greater frequencies?

a. Which colour (visible light) has the greatest frequency?

b. Which colour (visible light) has the least greatest frequency?

c. What is an example of a wave (not in the visible light section) with high
frequency wavelengths?

d. What is an example of a wave (not in the visible light section) with low
frequency wavelengths?

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Answers to the Questions:

1. What was acting as the „white light‟ source in this activity?

Light from the sun or „sunshine‟

2. What can white light or „sunshine‟ be broken down into?

White light can be broken down into different colours.

3. What does the blank DVD disk represent in your spectroscope and what is its
purpose?

The blank DVD disk represents a prism which is a tool for breaking white light
up into its colour components.

4. What does the acronym ROY.G.BIV stand for?

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet

5. Where in nature are these colours seen and how does this natural effect
occur?

These are the colours of a rainbow. When the sun is out and it is raining a
rainbow is formed because the rain drops act like miniature prism and disperse
the white light into the full spectrum of colours.

6. Do the colours seen in the spectroscope (or a rainbow) always appear in the
order of ROY.G.BIV? YES

a. Why or why not? Because each colour has a particular wavelength in the
relation to the next.

7. Why do you only leave a very small slit in the eye piece of the spectroscope?

There is a narrow slit in order to limit the amount of light rays coming into the
spectroscope from the viewing side. By limiting the rays coming in from the
viewing side the clearer picture should form inside the tube.

8. Would the spectroscope produce the same effect if the light source you were
using produced a particular colour for example a red light bulb?

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No it would not. If the light source was red we would only see red inside of the
spectroscope because red is already apart of white light itself.

Fill in the blanks using the words: Straight, Sun, Waves, Earth

9. Light travels from the SUN to the EARTH in STRAIGHT lines. It does so in a
WAVE like motion.

Obtain a copy of the Electromagnetic spectrum (refer to your background


information notes)

10. Waves have amplitude, a wavelength and oscillations. Can you draw a simple
wave and label these structures?

Wavelength: horizontal arrow- crest to crest of a wave

Amplitude: vertical arrow- height of a wave

Oscillation: red marked out points- a repeating unit of a wave

11. Can you briefly write a small paragraph about „waves‟ using the words: Wave,
wavelength, frequency, oscillation, energy and amplitude

Light travels in waves. These waves have different amplitudes, wavelengths and
frequencies. Amplitude refers to the height of the wave. The wavelength is the
distance crest to crest of a wave and the frequency relates to how many
oscillations occur over a given time period.

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12. Waves have different frequencies. When you look at the electromagnetic
spectrum which side (left or right) has wavelengths with greater frequencies?

a. Which colour (visible light) has the greatest frequency? Violet

b. Which colour (visible light) has the least greatest frequency? Red

c. What is an example of a wave (not in the visible light section) with high
frequency, short wavelengths? Gamma Rays

d. What is an example of a wave (not in the visible light section) with low
frequency, long wavelengths? Radio rays

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Background Information for Teachers:
The Electromagnetic and Visible Spectra

Electromagnetic waves are waves that are capable of traveling through a vacuum. Unlike
mechanical waves that require a medium in order to transport their energy, electromagnetic
waves are capable of transporting energy through the vacuum of outer space. Electromagnetic
waves are produced by a vibrating electric charge and as such, they consist of both an electric and
a magnetic component. Electromagnetic waves exist with an enormous range of frequencies. This
continuous range of frequencies is known as the electromagnetic spectrum. The entire range of
the spectrum is often broken into specific regions. The subdividing of the entire spectrum into
smaller spectra is done mostly on the basis of how each region of electromagnetic waves interacts
with matter. The diagram below depicts the electromagnetic spectrum and its various regions. The
longer wavelength, lower frequency regions are located on the far left of the spectrum and the
shorter wavelength, higher frequency regions are on the far right. Two very narrow regions within
the spectrum are the visible light region and the X-ray region.

Visible Light Spectrum

The very narrow band of wavelengths located to the right of the infrared region and to the left of
the ultraviolet region is the visible light region. Though electromagnetic waves exist in a vast range
of wavelengths, our eyes are sensitive to only a very narrow band. Since this narrow band of
wavelengths is the means by which humans see, we refer to it as the visible light spectrum.
Normally when we use the term "light," we are referring to a type of electromagnetic wave that
stimulates the retina of our eyes. In this sense, we are referring to visible light, a small spectrum
from the enormous range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. This visible light region
consists of a spectrum of wavelengths that range from approximately 700 nanometers
(abbreviated nm) to approximately 400 nm. This narrow band of visible light is affectionately
known as ROYGBIV.

Each individual wavelength within the spectrum of visible light wavelengths is representative of a
particular colour. That is, when light of that particular wavelength strikes the
retina of our eye, we perceive that specific colour sensation. Isaac Newton
showed that light shining through a prism will be separated into its different
wavelengths and will thus show the various colours that visible light is
comprised of. The separation of visible light into its different colours is known
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as dispersion. Each colour is characteristic of a distinct wavelength; and different wavelengths of
light waves will bend varying amounts upon passage through a prism. For these reasons, visible
light is dispersed upon passage through a prism. Dispersion of visible light produces the colours
red (R), orange (O), yellow (Y), green (G), blue (B), and violet (V). It is because of this that visible
light is sometimes referred to as ROY G. BIV. (Incidentally, the indigo is not actually observed in
the spectrum but is traditionally added to the list so that there is a vowel in Roy's last name.) The
red wavelengths of light are the longer wavelengths and the violet wavelengths of light are the
shorter wavelengths. Between red and violet, there is a continuous range or spectrum of
wavelengths. The visible light spectrum is shown in the diagram below.

When all the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum strike your eye at the same time, white is
perceived. The sensation of white is not the result of a single colour of light. Rather, the sensation
of white is the result of a mixture of two or more colors of light. Thus, visible light - the mix of
ROYGBIV - is sometimes referred to as white light. Technically speaking, white is not a colour at all
- at least not in the sense that there is a light wave with a wavelength that is characteristic of
white. Rather, white is the combination of all the colours of the visible light spectrum. If all the
wavelengths of the visible light spectrum give the appearance of white, then none of the
wavelengths would lead to the appearance of black. Once more, black is not actually a colour.
Technically speaking, black is merely the absence of the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum.
So when you are in a room with no lights and everything around you appears black, it means that
there are no wavelengths of visible light striking your eye as you sight at the surroundings.

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/light/u12l2a.cfm

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Background Information for Students:
White light or sunshine is made up a number of different colours. We can see these colours by
passing the white light through a prism. Here light is splintered into its rainbow of colours (red,
orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet). Each of these colours has its own specific wave like
property. When these colours are recombined white light is obtained. Although white light is
broken down into coloured light areas, these areas are also slightly different. For example the
colour ‘red’ has a variety of reds from darker to lighter to reds which begin to look like orange.

The electromagnetic spectrum is a spectrum which shows electromagnetic radiations. In this


experiment students are concerned with a section of the spectrum called ‘The visible light
spectrum.’ This visible light spectrum highlights that visible light (light that the human eye can see)
is broken up into colours and that each of
these colours have a different wavelength
associated with them meaning they differ in
frequency and amplitude. To the left of the
spectrum we have high frequency wave
lengths which are considered more dangerous
and to the right of the spectrum we have low
frequency wavelengths. The wavelengths
determine how much energy that particular
type of light emits or gives off. High frequency
wavelengths are shorter and thus occur more
times than lower frequency wavelengths over
the same amount of time. Red light for
example has a lower frequency then violet
light and therefore has less energy associated
with it.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum- Visible Light

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/light/u12l2a.cfm

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Handy Hint:
Agar can be purchased
Experiment 2: ‘Agar and Optics’ from the supermarket. An
alternative is gelatine
which will also work well.

The aim of this activity is to create an agar solution that can then be used to cut out
Aim: shapes from and be used in light experiments. Students should understand that shapes
cut in a particular way will bend light in a particular way. Students should be able to
define refraction once completing this activity.

Method:
Materials:
1. Heat 1 Litre of distilled water.
 Plastic trays, enough
for 1 between 2
2. Pour water into a beaker.

 1L Distilled Water
3. Gradually add agar powder to the water.

 Hot Plate 4. Stir consistently (either using a stirring rod or stirring


flea over a heat plate) and once dissolved, quickly pour the
 Stirring Flea solution into your tray and allow to stand until cool.

 Long Neck Beaker 5. Once cool refrigerate for later use.

 Cookie Cutters

 A3 White Paper 6. Cut out the agar into different shapes using either
cookie cutters or a knife. If using a knife be sure a teacher or
 Plastic acetate printed supervisor is doing the cutting and the edges should be cut
protractor as smooth as possible. Place each cut out shape onto a tray.

 Laser 7. Place the acetate protractor over the white piece of


A3 paper.

8. Place the first cut out shape on the centre of the protractor and point a laser exactly
through the centre of the shape.

9. Note down the angle that the light is being refracted at. With each shape not down the
defraction angle you observe after 10 degree intervals.

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Background Information for Teachers:
This activity will take place over two lessons- actually making the agar will take place during the
first lesson and using the agar will take place in the second lesson. This is so the agar jelly has time
to set and be cooled. Agar looks like a transparent jelly and is useful in light experiments as once
cut out, can be used to resemble lenses and shapes which converge and diverge light. Students,
using cookie cutters will cut out concave and convex shapes and the point lasers through the
shapes to see what happens to the light. The diagram below shows the types of shapes students
should cut out.

Concave lenses cause light rays to spread apart or diverge and the
surface is curved inwards.

Convex lenses cause light rays to meet or converge and the


surface bulges outwards.

When students place there agar shapes over the acetate protractor and shine the laser through it
they should notice the following thing occur:

 When shining the laser through a concave shape the light rays should spread apart or
diverge.
 When shining the laser through a convex shape the light rays should meet or converge.
 When the laser is moved around in 10 degree increments the angles should change and get
wider or smaller depending on the shape of the lens.
 Refraction should be taking place when light travels through a rarer medium into a denser
medium, this angle of refraction is the angle students should measure.

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Background Information for Students:
Refraction:

Light travels at different speeds in different materials. Light travels at 3 X 10 8 m/sec in vacuum, at a slightly
lower speed in air, and at 2 X 108 m/sec in glass. In a diamond, light travels at about 40% of its speed in a
vacuum.

Therefore when light goes from one medium to another, its speed changes. This change causes light rays to
bend. Thus when light bends in passing from one medium to another, we call the process refraction.

A transparent substance in which light travels is known as a medium. Air, glass, water, ice, diamond etc., are
all examples of medium. Different media are said to have different densities. When the speed of light is more
in one medium then another, that medium is said to be the optically rarer medium. Air is an optically rarer
medium as compared to water and glass (light travels faster in air than in water). In this situation we can
then refer to water as being the denser medium. When a ray of light goes from a rarer medium to a denser
medium, it bends towards the normal (at the point of incidence). When a ray of light goes from a denser
medium to a rarer medium, it bends away from the normal (at the point of incidence).

The refraction of light is responsible for many illusions; one of them is the apparent bending of a spoon partly
immersed in water. The submerged part seems closer to the surface than it really is.

http://www.wonderwhizkids.com/Physics/Light/Refraction/Refraction.html

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Experiment 3: ‘Building a Periscope’
.

By the end of this activity students should be able to explain that light
Aim:
travels in straight lines. Students should also be able to define reflection and
understand that when flat mirrors are placed at 45 degree angles in line
with each other light reflects from one mirror to another allowing a person
to see above or below them.

 Two 250ml milk cartons


 Two small pocket mirrors
 Utility knife or Stanley knife
 Ruler
 Pencil or pen
 Masking tape

DANGER!
A Utility knife is very, very sharp. Have a grown-up do all the cutting in this activity.

Use the knife to cut around the


top of each milk carton, removing
the peaked "roof."

Cut a hole at the bottom of the front


of one milk carton. Leave about 1/4 inch
of carton on each side of the hole.

Put the carton on its side and turn it so


the hole you just cut is facing to your right.
On the side that's facing up, measure 2 3/4
inches up the left edge of the carton, and
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use the pencil to make a
mark there. Now, use your
ruler to draw a diagonal
Starting at the bottom right corner, cut
line from the bottom right
on that line. Don't cut all the way to the
corner to the mark you made.
left edge of the carton-just make the cut
as long as one side of your mirror. If your
mirror is thick, widen the cut to fit.

Slide the mirror through the slot


so the reflecting side faces the hole
in the front of the carton. Tape the
mirror loosely in place.

Hold the carton up to your eye and


look through the hole that you cut. You
should see your ceiling through the top of
the carton. If what you see looks tilted, Periscope comes from two Greek
adjust the mirror and tape it again. words, peri, meaning "around,"
and scopus, "to look." A periscope
Repeat steps 2 through 6 with the lets you look around walls,
second milk carton. corners, or other obstacles. Sub-
marines have periscopes so the
sailors inside can see what's on the
surface of the water, even if the
ship itself is below the waves.

Stand one
carton up on a
table, with the hole Use your hand to pinch the
open end of the upside-down
facing you. Place
carton just enough for it to
the other carton upside-down, with the slide into the other carton.
mirror on the top and the hole facing away Tape the two cartons together
from you.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/periscope.html

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Background Information for Students:

What kinds of mirrors can I use to make a periscope?

You need two small mirrors, but they don't have to be identical. If you have a
rectangular mirror, or one with a handle, it's okay if part of it sticks out the side of the
carton. If your mirror is round, like the mirror in a make-up compact, you may want to
tape or glue it to a square of cardboard before inserting it into the slot in the milk
carton. If you have a mirror with a magnifying side and a non-magnifying side, have the
non-magnifying side facing the hole.

To make a periscope from a 250ml milk carton, your mirrors must be smaller than 3 1/2
inches in at least one dimension. If the only mirrors you can find are larger than that,
you can use half-gallon milk cartons instead.

What if I want to use different sized milk cartons or some other boxes?

When you are making a periscope, it's important to make sure that your mirror is
positioned at a 45-degree angle. If you use a wider milk carton or some other box, just
measure how wide your box is. Then measure that same distance up the side of the
box and make a mark. The line between your mark and the opposite corner of the box
will be at 45 degrees.

How does my periscope work?

Light always reflects away from a mirror at the same angle that
it hits the mirror. In your periscope, light hits the top mirror at a
45-degree angle and reflects away at the same angle, which
bounces it down to the bottom mirror. That reflected light hits
the second mirror at a 45-degree angle and reflects away at the
same angle, right into your eye.

Can I make a periscope with a really long tube?

You can make your peri- scope longer, but the longer the tube is, the smaller the image
you'll see. Periscopes in tanks and submarines have magnifying lenses between the
mirrors to make the reflected image bigger.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/periscope.html

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Background Information for Teachers:

Light always reflects away from a flat mirror at the same angle that it hits the mirror. This is called
specular reflection. In a periscope, light hits the top mirror at a 45-degree angle and reflects away
at the same angle, which bounces it down to the bottom mirror. That reflected light hits the
second mirror at a 45-degree angle and reflects away at the same angle, right into your eye. This is
how the periscope works in seeing around edges and over fences etc...

The picture above demonstrates how the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection when
the surface is flat. This is the case for our periscopes and in the target game. However if the
surface was not flat we get something called diffuse reflection where the angle of incidence and
the angle of reflection are not the same because light has been bounced off in different directions
due to the bumpy surface it has hit.

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Experiment 4: ‘The Target Game’

The aim of this activity is to create a target game where you have to use mirrors, opaque
Aim: objects and prisms to direct light to hit the spot marked ‘X’. By the end of this lesson
students should understand the role of prisms and light reflection in flat mirrors.

Materials: Method:

 5 Flat Mirrors 1. Obtain an A3 piece of paper and place the light source
(laser) about 2cm from the left hand side of the A3 paper.
 Prism 2. Fix the light source in place by using some blue tack or
some tape if required. Obtain an X marker and place it on
 Either: pieces of the far right hand side of the A3 paper. This X will be your
polystyrene, blocks of target.
wood or plastic blocks.
3. First try to create a course using four mirrors with no
objects or prisms.
 Blocks to act as
4. Secondly try to create a path using 5 mirrors and one
obstacles
object.
 Laser 5. Thirdly try using all the materials provided including a
prism.
 A3 Paper 6. Finally try using the diagram below and copy that layout.

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Background Information for Teachers & Students:

The target game aims to demonstrate that light travels in straight lines and that the angle of
incidence equals the angle of reflection in a flat mirror. Meaning that light always reflects away
from a flat mirror at the same angle that it hits the mirror (This is called specular reflection). By
placing mirrors at 45 degree angles the angle of incidence and angle of reflection will both be 45
degrees making the light bend on 90 degree angles each time. When a prism is added to the
equation or if a mirror is tilted to a different angle this neat rectangular pattern does not happen
and this makes it harder to focus the light on the ‘X’ target, however the angles will still be the
same because we are still using a flat mirror.

The picture above demonstrates how the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection when
the surface is flat. This is the case for our periscopes and in the target game. However if the
surface was not flat we get something called diffuse reflection where the angle of incidence and
the angle of reflection are not the same because light has been bounced off in different directions
due to the bumpy surface it has hit.

This activity works on the same principal as the activity which involved building a periscope. Flat
mirrors are used to manipulate light to hit a wanted target.

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Questions:

1. What was the light source in this activity?

2. In your own words can you explain what you think reflection is?

3. Using a dictionary, write down the meaning of reflection.

4. In the target game what surfaces reflected the light?

5. What do we call the light ray that first hits the mirror?

6. What do we call the light ray that bounces of the mirror?

7. What are the two angles called that form on the mirror?

8. Using the diagram on the background information sheet, can you write a couple
of sentences explaining what it means?

9. What is the difference between specula reflection and diffuse reflection?

10. If the light is shone on a smooth surface at a 30 degree angle what will be the
angle of its reflection?

11. If the light is shone on a smooth surface at a 45 degree angle what will be the
angle of reflection?

a. What will the angle be between the angle of incidence and angle of
reflection?

12. What is the purpose of using both the objects and the prism in this activity?

13. What do you think would happen if instead of using flat mirrors we used
smooth curved mirrors? Would light still travel in straight lines? Would the
angle of incidence still equal the angle of reflection? Would we still be able to
hit a target?

14. Using a new page in your book or a blank piece of paper and using only a ruler, a
protractor and a pencil can you draw out a hypothetical target game that
should work if you use the rule of “angle of incidence = the angle of reflection”

15. Did you have any difficulties when trying to put together your own target
game? If so what were they and why did you think they happened?

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Questions:

1. What was the light source in this activity?

The laser was the light source in this activity.

2. In your own words can you explain what you think reflection is?

Students will have various answers.

3. Using a dictionary, write down the meaning of reflection.

Example: To reflect is to send light back from a surface. Form an image of


something as a mirror does. (Oxford- The Australian Schoolmate Dictionary)

4. In the target game what surfaces reflected the light?

The reflective surfaces used in the target game were flat mirrors.

5. What do we call the light ray that first hits the mirror?

The light ray that first hits the mirror is called the incident ray.

6. What do we call the light ray that bounces of the mirror?

The light ray that bounces of the mirror is called the reflected ray.

7. What are the two angles called that form on the mirror?

The initial angle formed on the mirror is called the angle of incidence and the
secondary angle formed off the mirror is called the angle of reflection.

8. Using the diagram on the background information sheet can you write a couple
of sentences explaining what it means?

Light travels in a straight line. In light reflection, the angle of incidence always
equals the angle of reflection.

9. What is the difference between specula reflection and diffuse reflection?

Specula reflection relates to light reflection when the surface it is reflecting


off is smooth and flat. Diffuse reflection relates to light reflected off a

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bumpy surface meaning the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection may
not be equal.

10. If the light is shone on a smooth surface at a 30 degree angle what will be the
angle of its reflection?

The angle of reflection will be 30 degrees because the angle of incidence is 30


degrees.

11. If the light is shone on a smooth surface at a 45 degree angle what will be the
angle of reflection?

The angle of reflection will be 45 degrees because the angle of incidence is 45


degrees.

a. What will the angle be between the angle of incidence and angle of
reflection? Explain.

This angle will be 90 degrees. Because in a straight line the total angle is
180 degrees. So if the angle of incidence is 45 degrees and the angle of
reflection if 45 degrees we have a value of 90 degrees left to get to
180.

12. What do you think the purpose of using both the objects and the prism was in
this activity?

The purpose of the objects in this activity is to simply have something there
bocking the path of light.

The purpose of using the prism is so the instead of dealing with just one light
ray we are forced to deal with multiple light rays and therefore need to use
more mirrors in focusing the light to the target.

13. What do you think would happen if instead of using flat mirrors we used
smooth curved mirrors? Would light still travel in straight lines? Would the
angle of incidence still equal the angle of reflection? Would we still be able to
hit a target?

This question will get students to think outside the square. Up to this point
they will have no prior knowledge on curved mirrors so it is up to them to think
about what would happen.

Light will still travel in straight lines- it always does.

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The angle of incidence will not equal the angle of reflection

We would still be able to hit a target however the process will be much longer
because the angles will always be different and we have to ensure we position
the laser on the same part of the mirror each time.

14. Using a new page in your book or a blank piece of paper and using only a ruler, a
protractor and a pencil can you draw out a hypothetical target game that
should work if you use the rule of “angle of incidence = the angle of reflection”

Students will all have different representations. Students should use at least 5
hypothetical mirrors. The drawing should include a light source and a target
marked X.

15. Did you have any difficulties when trying to put together your own target
game? If so what were they and why did you think they happened?

Students will have various responses.

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Experiment 5: ‘Reflections in Spoons’
-Concave and convex mirrors

On completion of this activity, students should be able to describe and illustrate how
Aim: convex and concave surfaces converge and diverge light rays and how inverted images are
formed in a mirror reflection.

Method:
Materials:
1. Buff the spoon so that it glistens
 Spoon
2. Hold the spoon in front of you, if you cannot see an
 Buffer image bring a red light close to you so the red light
indirectly falls on you.
 Red light
You’ll notice that your image appears upside down. If you
 5 skewers look at a spoon, to you it appears concave. If you were
looking at the back of the spoon it would be described as
 Foam convex to you.

 Scissors The best way to describe how light interacts with these
surfaces is to construct a foam based template.
 PVA
3. Obtain 5 skewers and some foam with a thickness of
2cm.

4. Remove the sharp ends of the skewers by cutting them off with scissors.

5. Place the skewers into the foam in a straight line, spread out evenly ensuring they are parallel to
one another. If the skewers don’t feel firm in the foam use a small amount of PVA.

The skewers represent light coming from a light source. And at the moment the light waves are
parallel to each other.

6. Take the foam and hold it with both hands. Bend the foam so that the bulge in the foam is
directed to you.

You’ll notice that the skewers or light, bend in and that there is a point where the skewers meet.

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7. Now take the assembly and hold it so it faces your face. Duplicate the shape of the spoon facing
you (concave shape).

Again you’ll notice that the light/skewers converge (narrow in) to a certain point (focus) and then
diverge. This inversion is responsible for the upside down image of your face in the spoon.

If you bent the foam away from you, the skewers and hence light would spread out in a number of
angles and said to diverge.

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Questions:

1. In this activity what represented the light source travelling in straight lines?

2. Can you draw a concave shape and explain your own words what it looks like.

3. Can you draw a convex shape and explain in your own words what it looks like.

4. In general, what do mirrors do to incoming light?

5. What effect do concave mirrors have on incoming light?

6. Can you draw a concave mirror and the effect it has on light?

7. What effect do convex mirrors have on incoming light?

8. Can you draw a convex mirror and the effect it has on light?

9. If concave mirrors converge light what will the picture look like in the mirror
(or spoon)?

10. If convex mirrors diverge light what will the picture look like in the mirror (or
spoons)?

11. Other then the example of a spoon, where have you seen convex and concave
mirrors in the world?

12. Can you draw a biconvex shape and a biconcave shape?

13. Mirrors are objects which reflect light and can be concave or convex shapes.
Lenses in our eyes however don‟t reflect light they let light pass through and
are biconvex in shape. What do you think biconvex lenses do to the incoming
light rays? Draw a picture to help explain your answer. *Hint: In our eyes light
focuses on a single point at the back of the eye called the retina.

14. If someone had a problem with their eye for example a large cataract (a
cloudiness and thickening of the eye tissue would light rays still be able to pass
through the lens to reach the retina?

15. A lot of people wear glasses. Now knowing what our lenses in our eyes do to
light why do you think people may wear glasses?

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Questions:

1. In this activity what represented the light source travelling in straight lines?

The light source was represented by parallel skewers.

2. Can you draw a concave shape and explain your own words what it looks like.

It looks like a backwards „c‟

3. Can you draw a convex shape and explain in your own words what it looks like.

It looks like a „c‟

4. In general, what do mirrors do to incoming light?

Mirrors reflect light

5. What effect do concave mirrors have on incoming light?

Concave mirrors converge light.

6. Can you draw a concave mirror and the effect it has on light?

7. What effect do convex mirrors have on incoming light?

Convex mirrors diverge light.

8. Can you draw a convex mirror and the effect it has on light?

9. If concave mirrors converge light what will the picture look like in the mirror
(or spoon)?

The image will appear the right way up and spread out or larger.

10. If convex mirrors diverge light what will the picture look like in the mirror (or
spoons)?

The image will be upside down and seem skinny or narrower.

11. Can you draw a biconvex shape and a biconcave shape?

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12. Mirrors are objects which reflect light and can be concave or convex shapes.
Lenses in our eyes however don‟t reflect light they let light pass through and
are biconvex in shape. What do you think biconvex lenses do to the incoming
light rays? Draw a picture to help explain your answer. *Hint: In our eyes light
focuses on a single point at the back of the eye called the retina.

Biconvex lenses would not reflect the light they would let light pass through
because they are transparent. A bi convex lens therefore would converge light
in order to get all the light focused on the retina at the back of the eye.

13. If someone had a problem with their eye for example a large cataract (a
cloudiness and thickening of the eye tissue would light rays still be able to pass
through the lens to reach the retina?

If there is something opaque in the way of the lens there would not be much
light getting through. People with cataracts would have only minimal light
getting to the retina because some of their lens would not be able to transmit
the light resulting in decreased visual acuity.

14. A lot of people wear glasses. Now knowing what our lenses in our eyes do to
light why do you think people may wear glasses?

People may have something wrong with their lens or lenses so they might not be
able to converge light on their own. Glasses assist the lens in converging light
to hit the retina.

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Background Information for Teachers:

Convex Mirrors
If the outside of the sphere is silvered such that it can reflect light, then the mirror is said to be
convex. The centre of that original sphere is known as the centre of curvature (C) and the line that
passes from the mirror's surface through the sphere's
centre is known as the principal axis. The mirror has a focal
point (F) that is located along the principal axis, midway
between the mirror's surface and the centre of curvature.
Note that the centre of curvature and the focal point are
located on the side of the mirror opposite the object -
behind the mirror. Since the focal point is located behind
the convex mirror, such a mirror is said to have a negative
focal length value.

A convex mirror is sometimes referred to as a diverging


mirror due to the fact that incident light originating from
the same point and will reflect off the mirror surface and
diverge. The diagram at the right shows four incident rays
originating from a point and incident towards a convex
mirror. These four rays will each reflect according to the
law of reflection. After reflection, the light rays diverge;
subsequently they will never intersect on the object side
of the mirror. For this reason, convex mirrors produce
virtual images that are located somewhere behind the
mirror. An image is the location in space where it appears
that light diverges from. Any observer from any position
who is sighting along a line at the image location will view
the object as a result of reflected light. Each observer sees
the image in the same location regardless of the observer's
location. As the observer sights along a line, a ray of light is reflecting off the mirror to the
observer's eye. Thus, the task of determining the image location of an object is to determine the
location where reflected light intersects.

The diagram above shows an object placed in front of a convex mirror. Light rays originating at the
object location are shown approaching and subsequently reflecting from the mirror surface. Each
observer must sight along the line of a reflected ray to view the image of the object. Each ray is
extended backwards to a point of intersection - this point of intersection of all extended reflected
rays is the image location of the object. The image in the diagram above is a virtual image. Light
does not actually pass through the image location. It only appears to observers as though all the
reflected light from each part of the object is diverging from this virtual image location. The fact
that all the reflected light from the object appears to diverge from this location in space means
that any observer would view a replica or reproduction when sighting along a line at this location.

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Concave Mirrors
For a concave mirror, the normal at the point of incidence on the
mirror surface is a line that extends through the centre of
curvature. Once the normal is drawn the angle of incidence can be
measured and the reflected ray can be drawn with the same angle.
This process is illustrated with two separate incident rays in the
diagram at the right.

Image location is the location where reflected light appears to


diverge from. For plane mirrors, virtual images are formed. Light
does not actually pass through the virtual image location; it only appears to an observer as though
the light is emanating from the virtual image location. Concave mirrors are capable of producing
real images (as well as virtual images). When a real image is formed, it still appears to an observer
as though light is diverging from the real image location. Only in the case of a real image, light is
actually passing through the image location.

Suppose that a light bulb is placed in front of a concave mirror at a location somewhere behind the
centre of curvature (C). The light bulb will emit light in a variety of directions, some of which will
strike the mirror. Each individual ray of light that strikes the mirror will reflect according to the law
of reflection. Upon reflecting, the light will converge at a point. At the point where the light from
the object converges, a replica, likeness or reproduction of the actual object is created. This replica
is known as the image. Once the reflected light rays reach the image location, they begin to
diverge. The point where all the reflected light rays converge is known as the image point. Not
only is it the point where light rays converge, it is also the point where reflected light rays appear
to an observer to be diverging from. Regardless of the observer's location, the observer will see a
ray of light passing through the real image location. To view the image, the observer must line her
sight up with the image location in order to see the image via the reflected light ray. The diagram
below depicts several rays from the object reflecting from the mirror and converging at the image
location. The reflected light rays then begin to diverge, with each one being capable of assisting an
individual in viewing the image of the object.

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/refln/u13l3b.cfm

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Background Information for Students:

Concave Mirrors:

When you look into a spoon the inside bowl surface is


concave and your image is seen upside down. When
light hits this surface the light rays reflect back and
converge. Behind the mirror however the rays diverge.

Convex Mirrors:

When you look into a spoon the outside bowl surface is


convex and your image is seen the tight way up. When
light hits the surface the light rays reflect back and
diverge out. Behind the mirror however the rays
converge.

A convex mirror diverging reflected A concave mirror converging reflected


light rays. light rays.
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Experiment 6: ‘Internal Reflection & Streaming of Water’

By the end of this experiment students will be able to explain and understand what is
Aim: meant by internal reflection of light.

Materials:
Method:

 Two litre plastic bottle 1. Obtain a plastic bottle and heat a nail with a candle
to become hot. Using pliers, take the nail and make a
 Nail hole ¼ from the base of the bottle. (The diameter of
the whole should be just larger than that of the laser).
 Candle
2. Tape the whole and then fill the bottle with water.
 Pliers Te cap prevents leaking because it creates a vacuum in
the bottle.
 Ruler
3. Stand the bottle on top of a stack of books or
 Tape wooden blocks so the hole is facing a bucket.

 Water 4. Shine the laser through the bottle so that it passes


through the bottles hole.
 Stack of books or
wooden blocks 5. Remove the tape and unscrew the cap.

 Bucket 6. The light should reflect within the stream of water


exiting the bottle, creating total internal reflection.
 Laser

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Background Information:

Total internal reflection is an optical phenomenon. When light crosses materials with different
refractive indices (different objects have different densities there for have a different refractive
index), the light beam will be bent at the boundary surface (i.e., refraction). At a certain angle of
incidence (the critical angle θc), the light will stop crossing the boundary but instead reflect back
internally at the boundary surface. It only occurs at a high refractive index/low refractive index
boundary, not the other way around. For example it will occur when passing from glass to air, but
will not occur when passing from air to glass.

http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/to/Total_internal_reflection

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Experiment 7: ‘The Photoelectric Effect’

This experiment aims to demonstrate that high frequency light (in this case UV light)
Aim:
provides enough energy to kick off electrons from metal.

Method:
Materials:
1. Lightly Sand the aluminium can to remove any coating.
 Aluminium Can
2. Take a piece of copper wire and lightly sand that also.
 Sandpaper
3. Cut up some pieces of tinsel (approx. 10) about 10cm long and
 Copper Wire (15cm) 3mm wide.

 Tinsel or wrapping foil 4. Affix them to one side of the copper wire about 1mm apart
using a minimal amount of tape
 Tape
5. Lay the can on its side and affix the end of the copper wire
 Polystyrene Cup lacking the tinsel to the can with some tape. Again using minimal
tape but be sure there is good connection between the can and
wire.
 Glue / Glue gun
6. Take an upturned polystyrene cup and add a drop of glue to its
 PVC plastic tube
base. Stick the can onto it making sure that the wire and tinsel are
located on top of the can and are as far away from the polystyrene
 Wool cup as possible.

 UV Lamp 7. Take a piece of wool and rub it up and down a piece of PVC
plastic tubing.

8. Take the tube and move it through the 10 cm foil strips dangling
from the wire attached to the can.

9. Place a finger on top of the can.

10. Repeat the process.

11. Take the UV lamp, switch it on and direct the light onto the
cans surface. Observe what happens.

12. Take a piece of glass and repeat the procedure this time place the glass
in front of the can as to protect it from UV light. What’s different here?

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Background Information for Teachers:
Metals have electrons that are held loosely. When light is shined upon them, it was noted that the
metals emitted electrons, i.e. the photoelectric effect. It was through that energy from the light
was given over to the electrons and hence allowed for their escape.

So if we changed colour (higher frequency) and the intensity (i.e. the amplitude) then we should
lose more electrons. If you used dim light then you would have to shine the light for a significant
period of time so as to provide the overall energy needed to release the electron (i.e. a lag time).

However,

It was found that light could kick off electrons from the surface needed to meet a thresh hold
frequency. It didn’t matter how long you exposed the metal to low frequency energy, it could not
provide enough energy to kick the electrons off.

So low frequency no matter how intense and duration could not remove electrons.

When students rub wool over the PVC plastic tubing the electrons are removed from the wool and
deposited onto the tube. The tube then when it passes through the tinsel will deposit the
electrons onto the foil pieces and spread out like a brush. When the student place their finger on
the can the electrons will deposit onto them and the foil strips will return to normal.

The second time the students brush the PVC plastic under the foil they are not to touch the can
instead they are to shine UV light over it. When the UV light hits the can the light energy allows
the tinsel to spread apart again. When a piece of glass is placed between the UV light and the can
there is not enough light energy getting through to the can to allow the tinsel to move up.

This demonstration further highlights that light could kick off electrons from the surface needed to
meet a thresh hold frequency. It doesn’t matter how long you exposed the metal to low frequency
energy, it could not provide enough energy to kick the electrons off.

Community Based Science Lab Notes


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Experiment 8: ‘Simple Eye’

This activity requires a Dark Room

Aim: This activity aims to demonstrate how the human eye works.

This activity aims to demonstrate how our eyes invert an image.

Method:
Materials:
1. Obtain a polystyrene cup and paint its internal side
 Polystyrene Cup black.

 Black Paint 2. Once the paint is dry, push a thumb tack into the base
of the cup to make a small pinhole then ease the tack out.
 Thumb Tack
3. Obtain a piece of tracing paper and stretch it over the
 Tracing Paper top of the cup and affix it with a rubber band.

 Rubber Band 4. In a darkened room, light a small birthday candle


(which is affixed to a wooden block) and stand about
 Candle 50cm away from the candle.

 Wooden Block 5. Lower the cup so that it is in line with the candle flame.
Point the base of the cup (where the hole is) towards the
candle and the flame and observe the image formed on
the tracing paper.

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Background Information for Teachers:
The bottom line is: without light, there would be no sight. The visual ability of humans and other
animals is the result of the complex interaction of light, eyes and brain. We are able to see
because light from an object can move through space and reach our eyes. Once light reaches our
eyes, signals are sent to our brain, and our brain deciphers the information in order to detect the
appearance, location and movement of the objects we are sighting at. The
whole process, as complex as it is, would not be possible if it were not for
the presence of light. Without light, there would be no sight.

If you were to turn off the room lights for a moment and then cover all the
windows with black construction paper to prevent any entry of light into the room, then you
would notice that nothing in the room would be visible. There would be objects present that were
capable of being seen. There would be eyes present that would be capable of detecting light from
those objects. There would be a brain present that would be capable of deciphering the
information sent to it. But there would be no light! The room and everything in it would look
black. The appearance of black is merely a sign of the absence of light. When a room full of objects
(or a table, a shirt or a sky) looks black, then the objects are neither generating nor reflecting light
to your eyes. And without light, there would be no sight.

The objects that we see can be placed into one of two categories: luminous objects and
illuminated objects. Luminous objects are objects that generate their own light. Illuminated
objects are objects that are capable of reflecting light to our eyes. The sun is an example of a
luminous object, while the moon is an illuminated object. During the day, the sun generates
sufficient light to illuminate objects on Earth. The blue skies, the white clouds, the green grass, the
colored leaves of fall, the neighbour's house, and the car approaching the intersection are all seen
as a result of light from the sun (the luminous object) reflecting off the illuminated objects and
traveling to our eyes. Without the light from the luminous objects, these illuminated objects
would not be seen. During the evening when the Earth has rotated to a position where the light
from the sun can no longer reach our part of the Earth (due to its inability to bend around the
spherical shape of the Earth), objects on Earth appear black (or at least so dark that we could say
they are nearly black). In the absence of a porch light or a street light, the neighbor's house can no
longer be seen; the grass is no longer green, but rather black; the leaves on the trees are dark; and
were it not for the headlights of the car, it would not be seen approaching the intersection.
Without luminous objects generating light that propagates through space to illuminate non-
luminous objects, those non-luminous objects cannot be seen. Without light, there would be no
sight.

None of us generate light in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. We are not
brilliant objects (please take no offense) like the sun; rather, we are illuminated objects like the
moon. We make our presence visibly known by reflecting light to the eyes of those who look our
way. It is only by reflection that we, as well as most of the other objects in our physical world, can
be seen. And if reflected light is so essential to sight, then the very nature of light reflection is a
worthy topic of study among students of physics. And in this lesson and the several that follow, we
will undertake a study of the way light reflects off objects and travels to our eyes in order to allow
us to view them.

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/refln/u13l1a.cfm
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Background Information for Students:
In the experiment the simple eye the acting light source is a candle. The light being given
off by the flame of the candle travels (in straight lines) into the pinhole at the bottom of the cup.
The light then hits the tracing paper screen. Because the lines are moving in straight lines, the light
wave from the top of the candle hit the bottom part of the tracing paper screen and hence the
image is formed upside down.

THE EYE
After light enters the pupil (pinhole!), it hits the
lens. The lens sits behind the iris and is clear and
colorless. The lens' job is to focus light rays on
the back of the eyeball — a part called the
retina (say: ret-i-nuh). The lens works much like
the lens of a movie projector at the movies. Next
time you sit in the dark theater, look behind you
at the stream of light coming from the
projection booth. This light goes through a
powerful lens, which is focusing the images onto
the screen, so you can see the movie clearly. In
the eye's case,
however, the film
screen is your
retina. Your retina
is in the very back of the eye. It holds millions of cells that are
sensitive to light. The retina takes the light the eye receives and
changes it into nerve signals so the brain can understand what the
eye is seeing. http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/eyes.html#

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Experiment 9: ‘Painting With Light’

This activity requires a Dark room

Aim: The following experiment makes use of light to paint a picture Cathode lamps can
be used as a pen or
to smear the light
they can be held
horizontally
Method:
Materials:
1. Set your camera on a tripod or table and take a sample
 Digital Camera- Canon shot with flash and the lights on. This will help you verify
Powershot SX120 IS that your composition is fine.

 Tripod 2. Set the exposure to a relatively long value (for this


camera the value is 15 seconds).
 Cold Cathode Lamp Kit
3. Darken the room and then click the camera.

4. Run around the room for 15 seconds with the cold


cathode lamps.

5. Once the shutter has closed (the iris), inspect your


image and make any corrections you think are needed.

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Background Information for Teachers:
Painting with light: Gas discharge lamps

By definition a cathode is an electrode (a negative


electrode, the positive is called the anode) that emits
electrons. Typically, cathodes are heated (hot cathode) and
this heat energy provides for electrons to move into their
excited state. It does pay to first examine the workings of a
discharge tube with hot cathodes.

We know that packages of energy are called photons (the


particle theory of light) and this is how light can be thought
of travelling. Atoms emit light (light photons) when their
electrons want to return from their excited state to their
ground state. The electrons first got to this excited state by taking on or absorbing energy. So what
we have is a movement of electrons, absorption of energy and then the emission of energy. The
energy emitted and hence the wavelength of energy emitted will depend on how close the
electron returns to its initial ground state (i.e. its initial start) position.

Different atoms release different light photons and hence we can use the colour of the light to
determine what kind of atom we are dealing with.

Fluorescent lamps are made up of a sealed glass tube that houses an inert gas (a very stable gas
such as neon) and a small amount of mercury. The whole system is under low pressure and hence
there are not too many gas molecules within that which contribute to pressure. The tube is lined
with phosphor powder and has an electrode at either end both of which are connected to an
electric circuit. When the lamp is switched on electrons flow through the circuit to the electrodes
(a flow of electrons is called a current). Both electrodes alternate as an anode and cathode when
alternating current is used.

The build up of electrons creates a considerable voltage so what you now have is electrons and
ions moving through inert gas. The mercury, once exposed to these electrons begins to for a gas
and these gaseous atoms now collide with electrons resulting in a series of energy jumps of the
electrons with the mercury taking place (i.e. the electrons are moving into their excited state).
Once the electrons return to their ground state, they release light photons. These light photons
however fall within the UV light spectrum and not the colour spectrum. This is the reason the
phosphor powder is used to line the sealed gas tube. These substances emit light when they
themselves are exposed to light. A light photon coming into contact with a phosphor atom
provides energy for one of the phosphor’s electrons to move to a higher energy level. The process
here heats up the atom (so some energy is lost). Once the electron moves back down to its ground
state, energy is emitted n the form of another photon. His photon however has less energy (a
consequence of the loss of energy due to the heating up the atom in the first place). In a
fluorescent globe, the light that is emitted falls within the visible spectrum and white light is seen.
44 | P a g e
We began this gas discharge topic by stating that cathodes are heated (hence the name, hot
cathode) and this heat energy provides for electrons to move into their excited state. By changing
the voltage supplied, the same effect can be achieved without heat being produced. These
cathodes where heat is not being deliberately produced are referred to as cold cathodes.

Community Science 1 Lab Notes


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Background Information for Students:
In this activity you will be painting with light. By using a special camera and rods which are called
cathode lamps you will develop some pretty interesting looking pictures. The digital camera that
you will be using has the ability to keep its iris (remember our eyes have these too!) open for quite
some time, so it is capable of long exposure. This in effect allows you to take a moving
photograph! In order to successfully achieve this you will need to be in a dark room. This is an
example of a photo taken using this process:

By being in total darkness the only picture you will get on the photo is the movement of the amp
kits which you will be holding. So however you move around your cathode lamp that is the picture
you will get. You can write a word or draw a picture in thin air and you will see it in your photo.
Look at this photo for example:

The lamps you are using are called cathode lamps which have a voltage associated with them
(battery operated) they have very intricate process which allows them to work but to keep it
simple we will state this: By definition a cathode is a negative electrode that gives off electrons.
Typically, cathodes are heated (hot cathode) and this heat energy allows electrons to move which
cause them to get into an excited state. When the electrons
return to their normal or ground state they release light packets
which we call photons. This is how the lamp produces light.
Because this is a cold cathode lamp not a hot lamp, the process is
the same however to get the same result the voltage needs to be
lowered.

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Experiment 10: ‘Peppers Ghost’

The aim of the activity is to demonstrate that the amount of reflected light increases as the
angle of reflection increases. By using a plastic sheet, light and an object, students can form
Aim:
a ghostly image.

Method:
Materials:
1. Fold the board to produce the required square
 Cardboard cut out of a dimensions of the room and then build the internal
house rooms.

 Figurine of choice 2. A small chimney is required as to add in a small light

 Plastic screening 3. Place a small figurine under the chimney (light ill hit
this).
 Torch
4. Insert a screen of plastic by constructing a frame for it
and then slip it in at a 45 degree angle. Refer to the
diagram below

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Background Information for Teachers & Students:
Initially a magic trick, Pepper's Ghost first appeared on the stage as part of one of Professor
Pepper's shows on Christmas Eve, 1862 it stunned the audiences. This was more than just magic: it
was miraculous. It was so amazing that some spiritualists were convinced Pepper had discovered a
way of really summoning spirits. A ghostly figure appeared on the stage out of thin air, interacted
with the other characters on the stage and then disappeared in an instant. It was not modern day
special effects where it is all done on film or in the virtual world of a computer. This was on a
brightly lit stage in front of everyone's eyes...

There is nothing supernatural about Pepper's Ghost. It is just an illusion. The show it first appeared
in was a Science show, though it went on to amaze audiences as part of magic shows for years to
come, and can still be found, for example in Disney Theme Parks.

19th century magicians were more than just showmen, they were inventors, engineers and
scientists, making use of the latest scientific results, frequently pushing technology forward
themselves. People often think of magicians as being secretive, but they were also businessmen,
often patenting the inventions behind their tricks, making them available for all to see but also
ensuring their rivals could not use them without permission. The magic behind Pepper's ghost was
invented by Henry Dircks, a Liverpudlian engineer, in 1863 as a theatrical effect though it was
probably originally invented much earlier - it was described in an Italian book back in 1558 by
Baptista Porta.

So what was Pepper's ghost? Pepper's ghost worked in a completely different way to the
normal way mirrors are used in tricks. It was done using a normal sheet of glass, not a silvered
mirror at all. If you have ever looked at your image reflected in a window on a dark night you have
seen a weak version of Pepper's Ghost. The trick was to place a large, spotlessly clean sheet of
glass (sheet of plastic in our example) an angle in front of the stage between the actors and the
audience. By using the stage lights in just the right way, it becomes a half mirror. Not only can the
stage be seen through the glass, but so can anything placed at the right position off the stage
where the glass is pointing. Better still, because of the Physics of reflection, the reflected images
don't seem to be on the surface of the glass at all, but the same distance behind as the objects are
in front. The actor playing the ghost would perform in a hidden black area so that he or she was
the only thing that reflected light from
that area. When the ghost was to
appear a very strong light was shone on
the actor. Suddenly the reflection
would appear - and as long as they
were standing the right distance from
the mirror, they could appear
anywhere desired on the stage. To
make them disappear in an instant the
light was just switched off.

http://www.cs4fn.org/illusions/peppers
ghost.php

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Quick and Easy Activities to Try
Activities pulled from: Science Experiment/ Light ©2006abcteach.com

REFRACTION AND THE REAPPEARING COIN


Here's a magic trick that goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks. The Greeks were big fans of
light. They especially liked mirrors. Archimedes, a famous Greek mathematician, may even have
used light and mirrors to win a battle! Roman ships attacked his city of Syracuse, Greece in 212
B.C. The Romans kept their ships in the harbor where the Greeks couldn't reach them. The Greeks
were trapped!

So Archimedes made a set of mirrors that focused the sunlight. Where the focused rays met, there
was enough heat to start a fire. Then, from his city on the shore, Archimedes set the Roman ships
on fire.

Some historians call this story a legend – an interesting story, but not true. However, over 200
years ago, Louis Leclerc de Buffon used 168 small mirrors to set wooden planks on fire . . . at a
distance of 150 feet. So Archimedes could have done it.

In this experiment, we're not going to set anything on fire.

You will need:


 A bowl
 A coin
 Some water
 A friend who can pour water

1. Put the coin in the bowl. Look at the coin, then walk backwards until just after you can't
see the penny anymore.
2. It's very important that you can't see the penny. Without that, the magic of this trick
fizzles into nothing.
3. Stay where you are, and have your friend pour water into the bowl.
4. If all goes well, the penny should appear.
5. Explain why the water makes the penny appear. Be sure to mention what kind of light
behaviour this shows.
6. What light behaviour did Archimedes use to set the ships on fire?

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RAINBOW SHADOWS
Shadows are always black… Right?

Wrong. With coloured light bulbs and a dark room, you can make shadows in any colour of the
rainbow.

You will need:


 a red bulb, a green bulb, and a blue bulb
 a dark room
 three flashlights or short lamps that can use the bulbs
 a blank wall for casting shadows
 something to cast a shadow (like your hand)
 an assistant to help with the flashlights

You can find the bulbs at a hardware store.

1. Pick your favourite of the three colours and shine it around a bit. See how normal things
look different in this strange light.
2. Shine all three lights in the same spot. What colour do you see?
3. Make the three circles of light overlap. On the back of this page, draw a diagram showing
the colours you see. Leave room for another diagram!
4. Make shadows in each of these colours: red, blue, green, purple, yellow, black
5. Can you make a shadow in brown? Explain why or why not.
6. Try to make shadows in as many colours as you can at the same time. On the back of this
page, draw a diagram of how you did it.
7. On the back of this page, explain whether any of your observations surprised you. Did any
of them seem to contradict the rules you learned? If so, how could you explain this? (For
instance, the blue light bulb might also give a bit of yellow light.)

Science Experiment/ Light


©2006abcteach.com

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FOUNTAIN OF LIGHT
A rainbow works because the raindrops not only refract light, but reflect it.

Can we use this reflection to “trap” light?

You will need:


 a dark room
 a sink
 a bottle with a narrow mouth
 a towel to wrap around the bottle
 a flashlight

1. Fill the bottle with water and wrap the towel around it. The towel should cover the sides of
the bottle, but leave the back end and mouth free.

2. In the dark room, put the flashlight against the back of the bottle and turn the flashlight on.
Make sure the towel doesn't let light leave the bottle except out the top.

3. Keep the flashlight against the back of the bottle and slowly pour the water into the sink.
See whether light hits the wall behind the sink.

4. When the water is out, see whether light hits the wall.

5. Describe where the light went as you poured the water.

6. Why did the light do this?

7. Did the light act differently when the water ran out? Why?

Science Experiment/ Light


©2006abcteach.com

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RAINBOWS IN THE SKY

Aim: To find out why rainbows appear in the sky.

Equipment:

 Plasticine
 Torch
 Shallow dish or tray
 Cup of Water
 Mirror
 White Paper

Method:

1. Half fill the dish with water.


2. Put the mirror in the dish so that it slopes back.
3. Hold the torch near the dish. Shine its light on the part of the mirror under the water.
4. Hold the piece of paper above the torch. A rainbow appears on the paper.

Explain why this happens. Use the key words to help you.

White light splits water angles colours

________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________

Science Experiment/ Light


©2006abcteach.com

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Make Your Own Rainbow

Learn how to make a rainbow with this fun science experiment for kids. Using just a few
simple everyday items you can find out how rainbows work while enjoying an interactive,
hands on activity that’s perfect for kids.

What you'll need:

 A glass of water (about three quarters full)


 White paper
 A sunny day

Instructions:

1. Take the glass of water and paper to a part of the room with sunlight (near a window
is good).
2. Hold the glass of water (being careful not to spill it) above the paper and watch as
sunlight passes through the glass of water, refracts (bends) and forms a rainbow of
colours on your sheet of paper.
3. Try holding the glass of water at different heights and angles to see if it has a
different effect.

What's happening?

While you normally see a rainbow as an arc of colour in the sky, they can also form in other
situations. You may have seen a rainbow in a water fountain or in the mist of a waterfall and
you can even make your own such as you did in this experiment.

Rainbows form in the sky when sunlight refracts (bends) as it passes through raindrops, it
acts in the same way when it passes through your glass of water. The sunlight refracts,
separating it into the colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet

Science Experiment/ Light


©2006abcteach.com

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To investigate whether some materials allow
more light in than others.

What are you trying to find out?

I am investigating ____________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

Method - what did you do?

In pairs, we____________________________ _____________________________

___________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________

Predictions and Results

Use this key to complete the table on the following page:

Translucent = allows some light through

Opaque = allows no light through

Transparent = allows a lot of light through

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Material Predictions Results

Foil

Felt

Greaseproof paper

Cardboard

Tissue

Napkin

Plastic bag

Black sugar paper

Conclusion

I conclude that ______________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

Science Experiment/ Light


©2006abcteach.com

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LIGHT LOTTO

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LOTTO Questions & Answers

This is how light travels


Straight lines

This will produce an image when you look in it


Mirror

This is what we call all light producers


Light source

All things that make light bounce off them are called this
Light reflector

A material (like glass) that lets light pass through it and we can see through it is called this
Transparent

A material that absorbs light and does not let light pass through it is called this
Opaque

A material that lets light pass through it but we cannot see through it is called this
Translucent

When light is blocked this is cast


Shadow

When is a shadow longest?


Mornings and evenings

When do we have little or no shadow as it is under our feet?


Noon

This is the main source of light for the Earth


Sun

What is seen in the night sky because it reflects light from the Sun?
Moon

What are natural sources of light which can be seen in the sky at night?
Stars

This is a man-made source of light which uses batteries


Torch

Why should we not look directly at the Sun?


It could damage our eyes

In which direction does light travel?


Light travels from the light source to our eyes

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When do we cast no shadows?
Cloudy day or at night

What one word is used to mean light is bounced off something?


Reflected

Which colour material absorbs all light and reflects none?


Black

Which colour material reflects all light and absorbs none?


White

http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/science/science4c.htm

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http://www.edcreate.com/wordsearch/wordsearch.php

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Crossword and Word find Answers:

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Glossary
Amplitude: The height of a wave

Artificial light source: A luminous object which is manufactured or controlled by humans.


E.g. incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs and torches.

Block: If an object blocks light it won't let any light through at all.

Concave: A shape curved like the inside of a bowl. Concave mirrors converge light.

Convex: A shape curved like the outside of a bowl. Convex mirrors diverge light.

Diffuse reflection: if the surface is rough the reflection has an irregular scattering of light
rays (in all directions).

Direction: This describes the way light moves - it travels in straight lines.

Electromagnetic spectrum: The complete range of energies of electromagnetic waves from


the lowest (largest wavelengths) to the highest (smallest wavelengths) including, in order,
radio waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-ray, and gamma ray radiation.

Light source: Light travels from a source outwards in straight lines. The light source is where
the light comes from originally.

Opaque: We say an object is opaque when light can't go through it at all so we can't see
through it at all. It blocks the light.

Oscillation: The repeating unit of a wave.

Prism: An object which breaks up whit light into its colour components.

Rainbow: A rainbow is made when light goes through a raindrop, splits up and comes out as
separate colours.

Reflective: A reflective or shiny surface that bounces off a lot of light in particular directions.

Shadow: Sometimes light shining onto an object is blocked. The light cannot pass through.
On the opposite side of the object, no light gets through. This makes a dark patch. We call
this a shadow.

Shiny: Some things look shiny because the light bounces off them into our eyes. They reflect
light.

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Specular reflection: if the surface is smooth and highly purchased all the parallel rays of light
from a particular light source are reflected in on direction only.

Translucent: If something is translucent it lets a little light through but not enough to see
through it clearly.

Transparent: means to be able to see clearly through something. It's the opposite of
opaque.

Travels: We say that light moves or travels in straight lines.

Wavelength: The length from crest to crest of a wave. Different colours of light have
different wavelengths associated with them.

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Resources & References

Community Based Science Lab Notes

http://www.engineeringinteract.org/resources/alienattack/alienattacklink.htm

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/gamesactivities/lightdark.html

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/gamesactivities/lightshadows.html

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/gamesactivities/howwesee.html

http://www.learner.org/teacherslab/science/light/index.html

http://www2.bgfl.org/bgfl2/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks1/science/colour_and_light
/index.cfm

http://www.learner.org/teacherslab/science/light/

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/light/u12l2a.cfm

http://www.wonderwhizkids.com/Physics/Light/Refraction/Refraction.html

http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/periscope.html

http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/to/Total_internal_reflection

http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/refln/u13l3b.cfm

http://www.edcreate.com/wordsearch/wordsearch.php

http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/eyes.html#

http://www.cs4fn.org/illusions/peppersghost.php

http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/science/science4c.htm

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