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This lesson provided by:
Author:Kelly Meadows
System: Hartselle City
School: Barkley Bridge Elementary School
Lesson Plan ID: 24118

Light Reflection and Absorption


Students will examine various objects to determine if they reflect or absorb light. Students will first work with the teacher and look at various objects. Students will have the opportunity to test several items about the classroom. Then, students will create a PowerPoint slideshow using what they have learned.
This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.

Content Standard(s):
SC(4) 3. Recognize how light interacts with transparent, translucent, and opaque materials.
TC2(3-5) 2. Use various technology applications, including word processing and multimedia software.
TC2(3-5) 10. Use digital environments to collaborate and communicate.
Local/National Standards:

International Society for Technology in Education: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students: a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes. b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression. c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues. d. identify trends and forecast possibilities.
National Science Education Standards: Content Standard B: Students will demonstrate an understanding of light, heat, electricity, and magnetism.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will have an understanding of what types of objects reflect and absorb light.

Additional Learning Objective(s):  
Approximate Duration of the Lesson: 91 to 120 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

For Teacher: Preselected items (tissue paper, doorknob, cloth, notebook paper, photo, picture frame, mirror, cheek, aluminum foil, gummy worms, finger, metal sheet, Peace Lily plant, wax candle, and plastic cup), large flashlight
For Students: Prediction Sheet, flashlight (one per pair), large plain drinking glass filled with water (one per group), small mirror (one per group), and flashlight (one per group), science journal

Technology Resources Needed:

LCD Projector, Internet Access, Flashlights (one large flashlight for teacher and regular flashlights for student groups), Overhead Screen, Microsoft PowerPoint, Computer Lab


The teacher needs to prepare for students to test the items in a semi-dark room with good wall space. This makes the process easier when looking at objects that reflect light. Students should have an understanding of Microsoft PowerPoint.

1.)Engagement/Motivation Activity: The teacher will ask students what colors make up the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet). After discussion, the teacher will tell students that all colors of the rainbow make white light and this type of light can either be absorbed by objects or reflected by objects.

2.)The teacher will show the Indoor Rainbow link on the LCD projector. The teacher will have students read over the site information. The teacher will then put students into groups of 4. Boys and girls should be placed in groups separately. Each group will need one plain drinking glass filled with water, a small mirror, and a flashlight. The students will be instructed to follow the directions on the site to understand how light is reflected to make a rainbow. The teacher should discuss with students how the mirror reflects light that passes back through the water, traveling at an angle. The water refracts, or bends, the light. As light bends, it separates into the colors of the rainbow-red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
(Indoor Rainbow)
Gives information about rainbows and light.

3.)The teacher will tell students they will be using flashlights to determine whether different objects absorb or reflect light. The teacher will show students the tissue paper and doorknob. The teacher will shine the flashlight light onto both objects. The students will be able to see that the tissue paper absorbs the light by allowing the color of the paper to shine through. The students will also be able to understand that the doorknob reflects the light since it is an opaque object.

4.)The teacher will show students the rest of the materials at the front of the room. Students will receive a prediction sheet where they will make their own predictions as to whether each object will reflect or absorb light.

5.)The teacher should give students about 5 minutes to make their predictions.

6.)Students will get into pairs (boy and girl) with one flashlight for each pair. Students will test one item at a time to decide whether or not it reflects the light or absorbs the white light.

7.)The teacher should have pairs rotate to each item until all items have been tested. Students should be given about 2 minutes at each item.

8.)The teacher should lead the class into discussion about their findings. Ask students which items reflected light and what do those items have in common. Also, ask students which items absorbed light and how they are similar.

9.)The teacher can allow pairs to go about the room with their flashlight and find things that will reflect light and absorb light. Students can write down items that reflect light and absorb light into their science journals. The teacher should allow students to share their findings with the class.

10.)The teacher will review with students that translucent and transparent materials can absorb light, whereas opaque materials will reflect the light.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. Powerpoint Rubric.doc
Prediction Sheet.doc
Assessment Strategies:

Informal: The teacher will informally assess students’ participation as they are completing the activity. Formal: Place students into group of 3. Place girls with girls and boys with boys. Students should be directed to the computer lab where they will access Microsoft PowerPoint. Students should be instructed to create a slideshow which informs the audience about light reflection and light absorption. Students should include:
Slide 1: Title Page (Title, Group names, Date, Pictures)
Slide 2: Purpose of slideshow
Slide 3: Light Reflection words and definition
Slide 4: Examples of Light Reflection
Slide 5: Light Absorption words and definition
Slide 6: Examples of Light Absorption
The teacher should allow students ample time to complete the project. Upon finishing, allow students to show, explain, and answer questions about their presentations with the class using the LCD Projector. The teacher should use the attached rubric to assess the presentation.


Students can visit Dracula's Library Reflections where they will be able to complete a more difficult activity dealing with light, a mirror, and a protractor.


Students can review several trade books on light including Light: Experimenting With Science by Antonella Meiani, Light and Color by Peter D. Riley, Eyewitness: Light by David Burnie, and Light (Early Bird Energy) by Andy King.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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