Passing Through?

5 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT identify that objects will allow all light to pass through, some light to pass through, or no light to pass through.

Big Idea

Today students will experiment with a flashlight and a variety of objects as they determine if an object is transparent, translucent, or opaque.

Setting the Stage

1 minutes

Materials:  flashlight, a whiteboard, various objects that are transparent, translucent, or opaque.

The students will work in teams as they test a variety of objects to see if/how easily light passes through them.  

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.


5 minutes

"I want to start today by reviewing three vocabulary words that we defined at the beginning of the unit.  These words are transparent, translucent, and opaque.  Using the vocabulary wall, who can give me the definition of one of the words?"

In order to get students to use precise science words in both their writings and discussions, I create a working vocabulary wall that allows them to access both the word and definitions.  



20 minutes

Advanced Preparation:  I put a variety of testable items on the table (i.e. construction paper, plastic, magnifying glass, pencils, etc), a flashlight for each group, and a small personal whiteboard for each group.  

"Before you start testing I would like you to set up your notebook for today's entry.  I would also like you to make a three column table (I draw one on the board).  I want you to label each column with one of the vocabulary words transparent, translucent, and opaque."  

"You are now going to test items to see which category that they fall under.  Before you test it, I would like you to make a prediction for which category the item will be placed in.  Then test your item.  You will record your results on the table in your notebook."

 Partners work together as they test to see how each time can be classified (transparent, translucent, opaque).  They lay the flashlight on the table, and a partner holds the whiteboard up, across the table. The light should be hitting the board.  The second student places an item between the ray of light and the board.  They then observe what happen to the light and record it in their notebook.

  As they are working, I circulate amongst the groups.  I check in with their progress and ask them questions about what is happening or what they are noticing.  I also ask them to Explain their thinking to their partner.  I want to encourage the peer to peer conversation whenever possible.  


5 minutes

I gather the students on the carpet for a discussion about their findings.  

"I want to talk about what you found out from your tests.  I will show you an item, and I want you to tell me what category your put it in.  If their is a disagreement between groups, we will test it."

I  fill in each item on the original table that I drew.  When the table is complete, I ask them to come up with descriptors for each category.

"Now that we have listed all of the items, can we come up with some describing words for each one?" 

I want to focus on describing words because there are similarities for items in each group.  I want students to understand that generalizations can be made about transparent, translucent, and opaque items.  


5 minutes

I want to end today's lesson by watching a video about items that are opaque, transparent, and translucent.  

I am choosing to use this video, to reinforce the ideas from the exploration part of the lesson as well as the explain portion of the lesson.


5 minutes

"To end today's lesson, I want you to think about a scenario.  If you were to repeat today's experiment and placed a clear glass bucket of blue paint, what would happen to the light?  What category would it it be placed in?"

I am adding the word clear to be a little "tricky" with the words being used.  The idea is that the paint would be an opaque liquid and that no light would get through.  I am looking for students to identify this and/or compare it to the results of another object. 

"When you are done, I want you to grade today's entry using Science Journal Scoring Rubric."