Sunday, April 15

Light, Mirror, and Lenses

We have been doing a series of experiments with light.  We started out investigating the basic properties of light and mirrors.  We read Day Light, Night Light  and Light.  We used a nail and a flat mirror to determine the focal point of the mirror.  We played a neat maze game bouncing the light from mirror to mirror to make it shine on a specific spot. 
 
Next we look at parabolic mirrors and lighthouses.  We used a big metal bowl and a candle to see how the shape of the reflective surface changes how the light shines back.  The bowl helps focus the light sending it all in one location. 

Since treats always help information sink in, they built a parabolic mirror out of rice krispie treat and used foot by yard as the light beams to show the path of the light as it comes in and bounces back.

Taking the next step, we moved on to lenses.  We discovered the magnifying effect of a drop of water.  It was really neat to see the "Eureka" moment in the kids.  They were supposed to look side on and determine the shape of the water drop but that did not really sink in. We then used hand held magnifying lens to look at fingerprints.  The children were able to examine the shape of the lens when they could touch all the parts.  
As a wrap up, we used tin foil and yarn to review the paths of light with all the different mirrors and lenses.  I brought two different colors of yarn so that we could see the light coming in as different from the light coming out.  It really helped them see that the light bounces off the mirrors and goes through the lenses.  

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