This lesson is an introduction to the concept of light sources (both natural and man-made), as well as levels of light (bright, dim, dark, pitch black). Students will explore these concepts through a children’s literature read-aloud, discussion of personal experiences, brainstorming and sorting activities (with optional technology use), and hands-on activities with light boxes. Students conclude with a narrative writing assignment. This lesson can be divided and taught over the course of several days, or integrated into multiple subject areas (reading, science, and writing blocks) as time permits.
This lesson results from the ALEX Resource Gap Project.
In this lesson, students will investigate objects’ appearance in varying levels of light to help them construct an explanation that objects can only be seen when light is available to illuminate them. Students will discuss why objects look different in a dark room and graph their preferences for sleeping with a light on or off. Then, they will investigate how an object’s appearance changes in different lighting conditions in small group centers. Finally, they will model the moon’s path around the sun to see how light from the sun causes the moon’s appearance to change as it orbits Earth. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will use their experiences as evidence to explain that light is essential for sight.
This is an interdisciplinary lesson about shadows and light where we track the motion of the sun across the sky. It involves components of sunrise, sunset, involving Mathematics, Science, and English Language Arts. This lesson will involve NASA resources, hands- on inquiry, and observational data.
This lesson was created as part of the 2016 NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project, a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
Light is a very important energy source that keeps us warm and lets us see the world. Light travels in waves in bundles of energy called photons. Those photons contain all seven colors in the rainbow. Grab a prism and check them out!
The classroom resource provides a video that describes light, how it moves, and how it helps us see. This resource can provide background information for students before they construct their own models and carry out their own investigations. There is also a short test that can be used to assess students' understanding.
Light always travels in a straight line until something gets in its way. When that happens, light can be absorbed, reflected (bounced off), or refracted (bent), depending on what kind of surface it hits.
The classroom resource provides a video that will explain how light can move on and through different surfaces. This resource can provide background information for students before they create their own models or conduct their own investigations. There is also a short test that can be used to assess students' understanding.
Children move an object in front of a flashlight and observe how its shadow changes in this interactive game from PEEP and the Big Wide World. As children slide the object closer to and farther away from the light until its shadow matches the size of the object’s outline on the wall, they discover that when an object is moved closer to the light source, it blocks more light and its shadow becomes larger. Children also explore how changing the position of the light changes the direction in which the shadow of the object falls.
To view the Activity, Student Handout, and Teaching Tips for this interactive game, go to Support Materials. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA.
Earth’s moon reflects the sun, and so it is visible at night. It also rotates at the same rate that it orbits, 27 days, which means that we only see one side of it. The moon has one-sixth of the gravity of Earth and no atmosphere at all!
The classroom resource provides a slide show that will explain the characteristics of Earth's moon. There is also a short test that can be used to assess students' understanding.
Explore how light moves and describe how an object in a dark space only becomes visible when light moves into the space and illuminates it. Interactive activities, time-lapse videos, and images are used to enhance student observations as they identify objects in the path of light or follow the path of light from its source.
Support materials include: Handouts and Teaching Tips. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA.
The associated lesson plan Let's Explore Light provides more support for teachers and students, including handouts and materials for diverse learners.
Investigate sources of light and use various media such as time-lapse and live-action videos and a digital game to explore how objects in darkness can only be visible when they are illuminated by light. This lesson includes an interactive lesson that allows students to get a close-up view of how light moves away from a source and changes directions when its path is blocked by an object and encourages students to analyze evidence that shows how light interacts with objects of different materials.
This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA.
Observe how objects in a dark space can only be seen when light enters the space in this interactive game from PEEP and the Big Wide World. The interactive game offers opportunities for students to find objects in a very dark space by shining a beam of light around the area.
Support materials include: Background Reading, Teaching Tips, and Discussion Questions. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA.
The teacher will present an informational text from the website, ReadWorks. The students and teacher can interact with this non-fiction text by annotating the text digitally. The students will answer the questions associated with the article as an assessment. This learning activity can be used to explain how the sun illuminates the moon at night, serve as reinforcement after students have already learned this concept, or be used as an assessment at the conclusion of a lesson.