Daily Schedule

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Light Science - Reflection and Refraction

We've talked at some length about all the different meanings and definitions of "reflections" this month. So far, children in class have done a fair about of reflection as we look back over the year. Yesterday, for instance, we went through each page of our memory books and poetry anthologies to see how we've grown, and to cast a critical eye on our "best works". This is another type of reflection - to look back and carefully consider. In my math group, we are working on reflective symmetry, as we try our hand and completing other halves of objects, and finding lines of symmetry.

This morning in science, we talked about the scientific definition of reflection. At first, the most children could do was to say things like, "look in a mirror", or "look at yourself". After some research, they now can articulate that reflection is when light bounces off something, and refraction is when light bends. We talked about convex and concave lenses as well, and why things may look bigger or smaller.

Our day started with a mystery message. We had to figure out how to read it, before we could perform the task required:

Most students immediately figured that a mirror would help - and so it did!

I had two great teaching aids, along with some ideas of experimentation and fun. One was a book called, I See Myself.
This was a wonderful introductory book of a rather difficult scientific concept, and made me want to look into getting other books by the same author.

Then we turned to our main man, Bill Nye. He gave lots of great examples and ideas for experiments on reflection and refraction.

Then it was time to turn our young scientists loose. Here are some of the things we discovered:

Depending on what side of a spoon you look into, you are either right side up, or upside down!

If you draw an arrow on a piece of paper, and then look at the paper through water as you move it slowly away, the arrow changes direction!

We also bounced light around using mirrors and flashlights, used pencils in our cups of water to make them "bend", and generally just had a great time bouncing ideas off each other. (Get it?)

Lastly, students were encouraged to try their hand at backward writing, and each wrote a short note to Joanna! Hmmm, I wonder if she will be able to figure out the trick to reading them?

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