In this class, we wanted to support students’ knowledge of light and the ways in which it interacts with other materials through a series of connected learning experiences. These experiences are related to NGSS standard 1-PS4-3 Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer. Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light. We aimed for children to discover that light tends to move in a straight line unless something gets in the way, materials can affect the beam of light, and the way light moves can be impacted by moving the objects.
The connected activities described here were guided by the 5E learning cycle. The students watched the video to spark their curiosity about the path in which something might travel, worked in teams to design and test ideas while exploring the properties of the light, and documented and communicated their observations.
Lange, Alissa A.; Rice, Erin; Howe, Noell; and Tian, Qiuju. 2021. A Light Challenge: First Graders Engineer an Obstacle Course with Flashlights. Science and Children, Arlington, VA. Vol.58(3). National Science Teachers Association. 32-37. https://www.nsta.org/science-and-children/science-and-children-januaryfebruary-2021 ISSN: 0036-8148