The Early Years: Paths of Lightby: Peggy Ashbrook

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Exploring light is part of the National Science Education Content Standard B: Physical Science. Introduce reflection when you see children noticing their reflection in mirror or window by asking them what it means. While playing with a mirror, children will observe that they can see themselves, see things behind them, and see around corners! Students can reflect a light beam and direct it by moving a small mirror. In the inquiry-based lesson described here, students will embark on an unstructured exploration of light and predict where light will be reflected.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

Community ActivitySaved in 415 Libraries

Reviews (4)
  • on Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:25 AM

This interesting article has several ideas for children to explore light with a flashlight and shiny objects. It has directed activities, but remember that student learn an amazing amount of things just by exploring!

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:31 PM

This article is focused on K-1 students and getting them to think about how light is reflected. I love the idea of putting things in a box, but in addition to shining a light on them, students should try to see them Without the Light. Why? Because even in upper grades some students think light comes from our eyes or from objects themselves and that is why we see them - this shows them early on that without light there is no sight.

Tina Harris  (Bloomington, IN)
Tina Harris (Bloomington, IN)

  • on Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:23 AM

Students can explore light by using a variety of simple objects to see what light does. These objects can be items such as a spoon’s bowl, or column of water, a mirror, and a shinny dark surface taken outside. Allowing students to safely explore what happens to light as it strikes various reflective surfaces can lead to an understanding of reflection. Demonstrations in a darkened area with a flashlight can also help them understand properties of light.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:01 PM

While this article is aimed towards children k-2, I believe that this article can apply to children up till grade 4. In the grade 4 classroom, we have been exploring many different aspects of light and this article touches upon all and explains how students are curious and this is a subject they will find interesting.Children understand the basic concepts of light, such as reflection and that they can see and often feel it but there is so much more to light then that. I really like how this article gives the reader a simple way to introduce children to light and the first steps revolve around students independent exploration. As teachers, I think it is important to not only teach students but let students learn on their own. Overall, this article is great and involves lots of great ideas for teaching many grade levels about light!

Alexandra Figueroa
Alexandra Figueroa

Free - NSTA Members

$1.29 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.