What Do You See?

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SWBAT plan and conduct an investigation to determine the effect that light has on being able to see an object.

Big Idea

Today your students will work in pairs with a mirror as they learn about the need for light to see a reflection.

Setting the Stage

1 minutes

The students will use mirrors and different levels of light to gain an understanding of how light affects the ability to see a reflection in a mirror.  I am choosing this lesson to start to establish the importance of light and illumination and the need for it to be able to see an object.  

Our district has not moved toward implementation of the NGSS yet.  However, sound waves is a concept that is in our current curriculum.  I am pushing my students toward the full NGSS expectations of both light and sound waves.  Since it is above what the district requires, I am can push the students to go beyond the expectations. The NGSS expects students to:

1-PS4-2. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated.
1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light. 
1-PS4-4. Use tools and materials to design and build a device that uses light or sound to solve the problem of communicating over a distance.

The 8 lessons in this "Light" unit will focus on mastery of these content standards.  


5 minutes

The students gather on the carpet for a opening discussion about today's lesson.  

"I would like you to partner up to start today's lesson.  I am going to hand out mirror and a flashlight to each group.  These are tools for science and I want you to be careful and respectful with them.  Go ahead and explore them with your partner."

I give them a few minutes to discuss/use them with their partners and then call for their attention.  I want to give them a few minutes to explore with the materials to eliminate the desire to want to try the flashlight and control it.  This way they will be ready to use it as directed in future lessons.  

"Thinking about the terms we talked about yesterday, what does a mirror do with light waves?"

I want to reference the term reflect that is now on our word wall.  If students don't come up with the term, I use a flashlight and shine it in the mirror.  I ask them to describe what they are noticing. 


Explore and Explain

20 minutes

"I would like you to each set up your science notebook  for today's work. The focus of today is "the importance of light."

Once their notebooks are set, I give them a ball of clay (to be used as a mirror holder) and ask them to find a spot in the room where they can sit and face each other.  I lead them through the following discussion.  

"I would like you to take a ball of clay, a mirror, and your notebook, and go find a spot on the carpet where you can sit and face each other.  You will need to put the mirror between you.  Use the clay so that it is standing up in the clay.  One of you should be on one side of the mirror and the other on the opposite side."

"Raise your hand if you are sitting on the side where you can see yourself in the mirror."

I make a point to show that each group only has one person raising their hand because one side of the mirror reflects and the other side doesn't.

"I now want you to describe the side you are looking at.  What does the reflective side look like and what does the non-reflective side look like?  Once you are done switch spots with your partner and observe the second side."

The students do the above part orally.

"Do you think you can always see yourself if you are facing the shiny side of the mirror?  Could you see yourself if the lights were turned off?"

This conversation is taking place as students are still sitting in their groups.  

I then turn off the lights in the room, and shut all of the shades.  

"Can you see yourself in the mirror with the lights off?  Was it as clear?  Why was it impossible or harder?  In addition to looking at the shiny side of the mirror, what else is needed to see your reflection in a mirror (looking for the idea of light)?"  

"What are some sources of light?  Why do we turn on lights at night?"

 "Now I want you to take out your science notebooks and record what you just learned.  Tell me what effect the light had on what you could see.


10 minutes

I gather the students in front of the Smart Board and show them the following video.  I am showing them this quick video to reinforce the idea that in order to see an object a reflection of light must occur.  If their is no light to reflect then there is only darkness.

"I want you to watch this video.  It is a video that sums up what we have talked about today.  When it is done, I am going to ask you to answer one final question in your science notebook."



5 minutes

I write the following question on the board.  Why do our cars have headlights on them?

"I want you to write the following question in your science notebook.  I then want you to explain why you think our cars have headlights.  How do the headlights help us drive at night?"

"Once you are done, make sure to fill out Science Journal Scoring Rubric 2."