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.
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.
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.