Are You Afraid of the Dark?

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SWBAT discover that objects need light to be seen.

Big Idea

Come and discover ways to see in the dark!

Setting the Stage:

Next Generation Science Standards Connection:

In this first lesson I am activating student prior knowledge of light and dark. Students will explore their sense of sight and learn that without light there is no sight.  This lesson is a necessary building block for the learning that will occur in this unit.  Students will conduct an investigation on light and dark. The investigation will allow my students to gather evidence on how items illuminate.  Using cause and effect, the students will demonstrate an understanding of objects illuminating using an external light source. Students will record their observations and evidence in their scientific journals.

Classroom Structures:

In order to support a high level of student discourse within my science lessons I have assigned two different student partnerships.  Turn and Talk Partners are discourse partners that work together to share the deep thinking that happens throughout the day.  Workshop Partners are partners who are matched together for the purpose of working during our independent times.  In this lesson students will be engaged in both partnerships.

Prior Knowledge:

Students will need an understanding of what it means to be dark or light. 

Students will need to know the term 5 senses: our sense of sight.

Home-School Connection:

I LOVE involving parents in the learning in my classroom.  This parent letter is both an introduction to our next two units as well as a request for supplies. Many of the items used to teach this unit are recyclable items so I ask for help from parents and colleagues.



1. The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark By Deborah Diesen

2. vocabulary - Are You Afraid of the Dark?

3. Pinhole Box (1 Pinhole Box for each partnership)

4. Pinhole Box Recording sheet

5. Images for recording sheet

6. science vocabulary

7. Science Journal (Avery Labels 5163) - I use blank paper in my journals so my students have more space and freedom to experiment with graphic organizers, illustrations, etc.

7. Do objects need light to be seen? (Avery Labels 8160)


15 minutes

I begin this lesson with all my students sitting on the carpet next to their turn and talk partners.  I turn off all the lights and shut the blinds. Boys and girls I want everyone to close your eyes. Close your eyes real tight!  What do you see?  The children respond; nothing, black, dark, etc.  I ask the children to open their eyes. I hold up the book called The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark By Deborah DiesenToday you are going to hear a story about Mr. Fish. He wants to help his friend Ms. Clam when she loses something very special to her but they have a problem.  It is too dark to see anything and Mr. Fish is afraid of the dark!   

I read The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark by Deborah Diesen. After I finish the book, I lean in real close and I ask, Have you ever been afraid of the dark?  The children all start to yell out.  After a moment I ask the children, What did you do?  The children respond with; I just thought puppies and princesses. I turn on my nightlight. I just put on the hallway light. I use a flashlight! I get my mom. I turned the light on.


15 minutes

In this next part of the lesson my students will be working with a partner to discover that objects need light to be see.

Boys and girls do any of you have any questions about light?  Are you wondering something that we could investigate? I ask the children to share some questions that they might have and record them onto our anchor chart.  I will listen for questions like: What is light? Where does it come from?  Is it made from waves light sound? 

Scientists always begin an investigation by asking a question that they want to answer. Today you are going to be working real hard to answer a real important question about light.  Do objects need light to be seen? You will be working with a partner to research this question.  We will be playing the game called What's in the Pinhole Box? You will take turns hiding an object from your partner in the pinhole box.  If you hide the object your partner will try to figure out what it is just by looking in the box. If that doesn't work he can use a flashlight and if that doesn't work he can lift the lid.  You will have three turns to play this game and then you will switch.  Your partner will have to try to figure out what you have put in the pinhole box. Your job will be to record your research on our Pinhole Box Recording sheet. Be sure to model how to fill in the form.  Once the students figure out what the object is they can glue that picture onto their recording sheet.

As my students are working I walk around and confer with each student naming and noticing the smart thinking happening. Conferring is the process of listening and recording the work the student or students are doing and then compliment the work. As I listen, I research a teaching point and then work to provide clarification through questioning, modeling and re-teaching.  I record my observations on science recording sheet and use this data to drive my teaching.  I will be working to clarify any misconceptions and redirect students to think about our research question.  With young children they become engaged in the explorations but sometimes forget about the big question at hand. My job will be to facilitate the conversation until I am sure the children are engaging in rich scientific discussion with each other.


10 minutes

I have the students meet me on the carpet to share out their answers to our questions.  Earlier today I asked you if we need light to see objects.  How many of you found the answer to this question?  Great!!  With your turn and talk partner I want you to share what you did today and what you discovered.  Go ahead!

As the students are sharing I am listening for misconceptions.  I am sure to take notes on my science recording keeping form. 

Today you learned something really important. You learned that without light, there would be no sight.  We are able to see with our eyes because of three things; light, our eyes and our brains.  The light reaches our eyes and then sends messages to our brain telling our brain what we are seeing.  If there was no light we would not be able to see!


10 minutes

There is research that states that our students are more likely to gain a deeper understanding of the science concepts when they are actively engaged in doing science. I believe that technology can allow children to experience this type of learning.  I show my students this video.


 Boys and girls, what do we need to see?  All the children yell out together LIGHT!!


5 minutes

As we sit in our meeting area I conclude by saying, "Boys and girls today and everyday when you see something it is because there is light. The light reaches your eyes which sends messages to your brain allowing you to know what it is you are seeing.  Light energy is very, very important.  Today you will need to draw and write the answer to our very important question: Do we need light to see objects?  Be sure to tell me why.

In order to check for understanding, I send my students back to their Science Journal and ask them to take a few minutes to record the answer to our question today. I will look for answers like;  Light helps us see.  We need light to see things.