NEW PRODUCT! This engaging, four-day lesson is phenomenon-based, involves easy-to-gather prep materials, and is completely aligned with the NGSS Waves Performance Expectation MS-PS4-2 Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials. This activity focuses specifically on how regular sunglasses reflect and transmit visible light and how the amplitude of electromagnetic waves is lowered when passing through dark sunglasses. The phenomenon that is explored is that you are able to see out of the sunglasses, but others can only see their reflection in your sunglasses as well as objects in the background.
It is helpful if students are familiar with amplitude, frequency, and wavelength as investigated and learned in MS-PS4-1, but not required. You can see below for resources for that Performance Expectation.
Included in this resource:
Station 1 – Shadows – Students make shadows with paper to gather evidence about how light travels in a straight line from its source.
Station 2 – Makin’ Waves – Students try to avoid making water waves to gather evidence about how waves carry energy and not matter.
Station 3 – Light Interactions – Students make observations on how light interacts with different matter to gather evidence about how light reflects/absorbs/transmits.
Station 4 – Type of Waves – Students perform a simple test and read an information card to understand that sound requires a medium while light does not, so light waves are electromagnetic.
Station 5 – Bending Light – Students observe a pencil in water and learn about refraction to determine light is not bending when looking through regular sunglasses.
Station 6 – Brightness and Amplitude – Students practice changing the amplitude of a slinky and learn that the brightness of light is determined by a wave’s amplitude.
Station 1: flashlight or other light source, construction paper, straws, tape
Station 2: open container of water such as a pan or bin
Station 3: small mirror, piece of cardboard, piece of white paper, piece of wax paper, piece of sandwich wrap, microscope slide or other piece of glass, piece of newsprint to observe
Station 4: Information card (provided), access to a window to view light from the sun outside
Station 5: pencil, water, beaker, coloring supplies (ROYGBIV colors), optional: pair of sunglasses (these can be found at the dollar store)
Station 6: Slinky (spring toy)
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