Tag Archives: science

How To Investigate Light and Sound

The Goal:

Create quality istructions that explain how to learn about light and sound through an investigation (experiment).

How do we know if we are successful?
We made a rubric, together.  After examining a variety of How-To Videos and Instructions, the Magical Minds and I made a list of the top five things that are needed to create “quality instructions.” This blue poster was the foundation for the rubric, which we also used to assess  our instructions on writing quality comments on a blog post (formative assessment or “practice round”).

Enjoy their projects below, or click here to see our wikispace:


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.