ALEX Lesson Plan


Peekaboo, I See You: A Lesson on How Light Passes Through an Object

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Melissa Knowles
System: Scottsboro City
School: Scottsboro City Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:ASTA
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 34492


Peekaboo, I See You: A Lesson on How Light Passes Through an Object


Students will use transparent, translucent, opaque, and reflective items that they find around the classroom or school to investigate how light passes through an object. This activity will demonstrate how light behaves around objects. The first investigation will take students on a scavenger hunt to find objects that fit each type.  Students will classify each object using a flashlight and analyzing how light passes through the object. Then the final investigation will allow students to experiment with how the amount of light that each type allow effects the rate at which ice will melt.

This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 1
3 ) Investigate materials to determine which types allow light to pass through (e.g., transparent materials such as clear plastic wrap), allow only partial light to pass through (e.g., translucent materials such as wax paper), block light (e.g., opaque materials such as construction paper), or reflect light (e.g., shiny materials such as aluminum foil).

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
P4.2: Objects vary in the extent to which they absorb and reflect light and conduct heat (thermal energy) and electricity.

NAEP Statement::
P4.9: Light travels in straight lines. When light strikes substances and objects through which it cannot pass, shadows result. When light travels obliquely from one substance to another (air and water), it changes direction.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying out Investigations
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Given materials, determine if light passes through, partially passes through, is blocked or is reflected.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • transparent
  • translucent
  • opaque
  • reflect
  • investigate
  • observe
  • light
  • partial
  • block
  • material
  • record
  • data
  • shiny
Students know:
  • Some materials allow all light to pass through.
  • Some materials allow partial light to pass through.
  • Some materials block all the light from passing through.
  • Some materials reflect light, which changes its direction.
Students are able to:
  • Investigate to determine the effect of placing objects made of different materials in a beam of light.
Students understand that:
  • Simple tests can gather evidence to determine that placing different materials in a beam of light will cause light to either: pass through, partially pass through, block, or reflect.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Sound and Light, Foss
Sky, Delta

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.1.3- Identify objects that are see through (transparent) and objects that are not see through (opaque).

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will classify objects in classroom or around school using a flashlight to find examples of transparent, translucent, opaque, and reflective objects.

Students will predict how light passing through an object will affect the rate at which ice melts.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Day 1:

Teacher Prep:

Background Prep: Glass candle holder, dryer sheet, cell phone, metal fork

If you choose to complete the activity in the classroom only, make sure there are at least 4 of each item in the classroom. If you complete the hunt around the school, make sure the students will able to find each type around the school.

Check flashlight batteries.

Large sheet of butcher or bulletin board paper for anchor chart (Landscape view): Draw 3 lines to break the sheet into 4 columns. At top of column write each type (transparent, translucent, opaque, and reflective) under the type, write a definition. Leave bottom to label the classified object.

Copy the light classification template (see attachment) or create a simple chart in student's science notebook.

Students need:

1 flashlight per group

Transparent items (1 per group) - Windows, glass, plastic wrap, some water bottles, magnifying glass, etc.

Translucent items (1 per group) - Wax paper, some water bottles, notebook paper, thin mini-blind, some curtains, Kleenex, lamp shade, etc.

Opaque items (1 per group) - Black construction paper, table, chair, desk, pencil, back pack, binder cover, etc.

Reflective items (1 per group) - chrome items, aluminum foil, reflective metal (chair leg), mirror, etc.

Day 2:

Teacher Prep:

Bring 4 ice cubes (similar sized) for each group or whole class. If you need a time saver, use smaller ice cubes.

1 timing device for each student or one in a general area for all to use. (Stopwatch, timer, cell phone, clock)

4 foam plates for each group or whole class

Check weather for a warm sunny day. 

Find an area around the school with good sun and shade for student protection. If none is available, remind students to bring a hat and wear sunscreen. If necessary, use a window sill in a sunny area for the experiment and have students work and record data from inside.

Exit slip items:

Index card, scrap paper, or post-it note to use for exit slip answers. 

(Optional) 1 clear plastic cup (transparent), 1 tinted plastic cup (translucent), 1 red plastic cup (opaque), 1 metal cup (reflective)

As always, test the experiment prior to lesson date.

Students need:

4 foam plates

1 item of each type

4 ice cubes

Timing device

Technology Resources Needed:

Optional: Device to watch Brainpop Jr. video about light


Students will have a general understanding of each type of light (transparent, translucent, opaque, and reflective) using definitions and teacher demonstration.

Teachers will define each type of light by showing an example and discussing how it fits within each definition. This could also be completed with a teacher-lead discussion allowing students to predict which type of light each item will fall into. The teacher could also create a Kahoot game. 

Vocabulary: transparent, translucent, opaque, reflect, investigate, observe, light, partial, block, material, record, data, shiny

Optional: Watch Brainpop Jr. video about light


Day 1

1. Teacher will build background or review each type with students.

2. Students will become scientists and go on a hunt for items that fit each classification. Using the flashlight, students will test objects and determine how they should be classified: transparent, translucent, opaque, or reflective. Look at whether the object allows all light, partial light, blocks all light, or reflects the light.

Flashlight safety reminder: Keep the flashlight angled down or off at all times to keep the flashlight from damaging anyone's eyes.

3. After giving student instructions on boundaries, release students to hunt or begin the tour around the school.

4. Students will then, in their group, classify each object with the classification sheet or chart in their science notebooks. Label each section with the item that fits in each group.

5. Early finishers can brainstorm other items they think would fit in each category based on their understanding of each type.

6. When all students are finished, come together as a group. Evaluate each item classified by the students. Reinforce their thinking where accurate, and, for inaccuracies, allow students to determine why their thinking may be inaccurate. Encourage students to use related vocabulary words.

7. Label each item on the anchor chart and hang in the classroom.

Day 2:

1. Review previous day with students. Write a hypothesis or prediction for each group of results for today's experiment. Other options are to tally ideas on board or use a website like to record predictions.

2. Students need: 4 foam plates, 4 ice cubes, 1 of each item type classified the previous lesson.

3. Students will go to the area designated by the teacher (see day 2 teacher prep).

4. Place 4 plates in sun. Put ice cube in center of plate. Cover the ice cube with one of the objects of each type found on Day 1. Complete for all four plates.

5. Begin timer.

6. Record the time at which each ice cube melts.

7. When finished have students record in notebook what happened to each piece of ice.

8. Come together as a group to share results and evaluate possible reasons for the results. 


Real world application: Use exit slip for students to apply learning with this question. What type of cup would be best to use on a sunny day? Why did you choose that answer?

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Assessment Strategies

Observation of students during classification.

Classification template or science notebook.

Student explanation in science notebook of what type of cup would be best for a sunny day.

Review exit slip answers for correct application of knowledge. 



Students will create a commercial on iMovie or other video production app to advertise a use for each type (transparent, translucent, opaque, and reflective). An example could be to use aluminum foil on the edges of a pie crust to reflect heat and prevent burning. 


Cut a sheet copy paper into four pieces. Have students draw a simple picture. Using a ruler, draw three lines (top down) to separate the picture into four sections. In the first section, write transparent on the bottom. In the middle section, lightly shade with pencil, light colored marker/crayon or highlighter. Write translucent in that section. In the third section, color it with a black marker/crayon or darkly shade with a pencil to completely cover the section. Label this section using a glued piece of paper, sticky label, or post-it note opaque. In the fourth section, glue a piece of aluminum foil and label this part reflective. Students can put this into their science notebook.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.