This senior primary workshop takes an in-depth look at the properties of light – within and outside the visible spectrum. Get hands-on with a variety of interesting optical instruments, explore UV light and make a UV detection key chain to keep.
Level: Suitable for Level 3 to Level 6.
Duration: Available in a 60 or 90 minute format. We recommend a 90 minute format if budget and timetabling constraints allow.
Numbers: Each workshop can cater to a maximum of 30 children. However, smaller groups have better access to equipment and the facilitator.
State: VIC, NSW, ACT & QLD
Light is a form of energy that travels in waves. Light travels faster than anything else in the Universe.
Light is very important – we need it to see, and we need it to grow plants for food.
Light enters our eyes through the pupil. An image is formed on the back of our eye and then transmitted to our brains.
Light travels in rays. A mirror has a smooth, shiny surface that the light bounces off. This is called reflection.
Flat (or plane), concave, and convex mirrors reflect light in different ways.
A lens bends light as it travels through it. This is called refraction. Lenses can focus light rays by bending them to all meet at a point. Many optical instruments such as eyeglasses, microscopes and telescopes all use lenses.
White light is a mixture of colours. When a prism refracts lights, it splits the white light into the spectrum (the rainbow).
The three primary colours of light are blue, green and red (this is different from art). We can add these three colours to make other colours.
When white light hits an object, some colours in the light are absorbed by the object and some colours are reflected by the object. This is the colour that we see.
Transparent objects let lots of light through. Translucent objects let some light through. Opaque objects let no light through. Opaque objects cast a shadow.
Light energy can be transformed into other forms of energy such as electrical energy or chemical energy (photosynthesis).
We can use electricity to make a light bulb light up. To do this we need a complete circuit, or path, for the electricity to pass through.
Some chemical reactions produce light. This is called chemiluminescence. When animals do this, it is called bioluminescence.
Ultraviolet (UV) light is part of sunlight. When UV shines on some objects, they produce light.
Explore the reflection and refraction of light with mirrors, lenses and prisms using a light box.
Explore a range of optical instruments and lenses such as a microscope, telescope, frensel lens, praxinoscope and periscope.
Observe how the primary colours of light are mixed to form other colours.
Construct an electrical circuit to light up a bulb, then experiment to find different ways of lighting up two bulbs.
Create a human, whole-class circuit to light up LEDs.
Demonstration of how light energy can be transformed into other types of energy, such as electrical energy.
90 minute workshops also include these activities:
Use UV light to cause a colour change.
Each student constructs a UV light detector keychain to keep.
Victorian Curriculum Links
Light from a source forms shadows and can be absorbed, reflected and refracted (VCSSU080)
Energy from a variety of sources can be used to generate electricity; electric circuits enable this energy to be transferred to another place and then to be transformed into another form of energy (VCSSU081)
Safely use appropriate materials, tools, equipment and technologies (VCSSU067)
NSW Curriculum Links
Describes the characteristics and effects of common forms of energy, such as light and heat (ST2-8PW-ST)
Plans and uses materials, tools and equipment to develop solutions for a need or opportunity (ST3-2DP-T)
Australian Curriculum Links
Light from a source forms shadows and can be absorbed, reflected and refracted (ACSSU080)
Electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources (ACSSU097)
Analyse ways to produce designed solutions through selecting and combining characteristics and properties of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment (ACTDEK034)