Light and materials

Project Description

This is a hands-on science of light vocabulary lesson. It introduces some fundamental language we use when learning about light. Light does different things when it hits different kinds of materials – light can be absorbed (blocked) or transmitted (passed through) or reflected (bounced). Materials can be transparent, opaque or semi-transparent.

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Grades: 1 to 3
Duration: 1/2 Hour – 1 Hour

Supplies: Activity sheets, A clear plastic bag or transparency, a piece of cardboard, a piece of waxed paper, a set of 3 Light BLOX (red, green, blue)

NGSS Connections PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation
  • Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.
    • Some materials allow light to pass through them, others allow only some light through and others block all the light and create a dark shadow on any surface beyond them, where the light cannot reach. Mirrors can be used to redirect a light beam.
Featured Products
Light Blox Kit

Light Blox Kit

Step 1

Transmission of light

REMOVE the line cap from the front of the LightBLOX. Turn on ONE Light Blox. Place the clear plastic baggie or transparency in front of the light and point it towards the table or the wall.

The light that passes through the clear baggie or transparency is called TRANSMITTED light. Some of the light also bounces, or REFLECTS off the baggie or transparency as well.

What are some other transparent things (windows…)

Instructor Tip:

Allowing students to do the best they can to describe what they are observing before giving them the term for it (transparent, transmission etc) will strengthen their observation skills and keep them engaged.


Step 2

Semi Transparent

Turn on ONE Light Blox. Place the piece of waxed paper in front of the light and point it towards the table or the wall.

Some of the light passes through (is transmitted) the waxed paper, but much of it is blocked by the semi transparent material, waxed paper.

What are some other semi transparent things (some curtains…)


Step 3

Blocked Light

Turn on ONE LightBLOX. Place the piece of cardboard in front of the light and point it towards the table or the wall.

Here light is completely Blocked – none of it transmits through the opaque material (cardboard). Some of the light is reflected off the cardboard too – that is the light we see.

What are some other opaque things (your hand…)

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