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Light and materials

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This is a hands-on STEM 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.

Grade Range:
1 to 3

1/2 Hour – 1 Hour


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.