Investigating Light: Reflection

In the spirit of empowering the Magical Minds to pursue their own interests, I carved out time for the Magical Minds to design their own investigations into light.

While some kids chose to search the internet or watch a movie to find answers to their questions, a small group explored our collection of books to find an experiment.

Soon enough, they had a page marked with a sticky note, and they were filling in a Scientific Method Guide Sheet.

Their question: can you bounce light off mirrors to hit a target?

They started collecting mirrors and sticking them to the floor with Blu Tack.  I borrowed a light box from the middle school science teachers.  The kids build a target.  We turn off the lights.

 

Adjusting Mirrors

After some time spent adjusting mirrors, and changing angles, I decide they are ready for some new vocabulary to describe what is happening.  I ring the musical triangle – it’s a “Pause for Learning.”  The Magical Minds give me their eyes, ears, hands and minds.  I introduce the word reflection. A couple of my kids recently studied the simple prefix “re-,” and I challenge them figure out what the word “flect” might mean.  With a hint of guidance we determine that “flect” must mean bounce or bend.  Etymonline.com helped us find the real answer:

Because our student-led conferences are just around the corner, I also challenged them to think how light reflecting is similar to the reflections we write for our portfolios.

 

Plotting Mirror Placement

 

Light Travels in a Straight Line

This is a nice experiment because the movement of the light so obviously reveals how light travels in a straight line It only bends when something causes it to bend.

Next up – refraction.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s