Light
 

Exploring the effects of light and materials 

This work should be an extension of the initial explorations of making shadows that were covered in the infant classes.

Children will explore how different materials can be sorted into sets — those that allow light through and those that do not. A variety of materials, such as glass, cellophane, clear plastic, frosted glass, greaseproof paper, plastic sweet wrappers, paper and water, should be available to the children for experiment. Children in the junior classes may be able to identify two types of materials. Things through which light passes can be described as transparent; materials that do not allow light to pass through are opaque and will form shadows Children in third and fourth classes may identify a third set of materials: translucent materials, such as frosted glass and waxed paper, which allow light to pass through but only in a blurred way. Once the children understand how materials can be classified as transparent, translucent and opaque they should explore the school and its environs for samples of each type.

This strand unit provides many opportunities for designing and making with materials that are transparent, opaque and translucent. The exemplars in the science curriculum provide children with contexts within which the properties of materials used for making common objects such as lampshades, sunshades and glasshouses are examined. Children can discuss how to test the properties of each material. They might consider that the material used for glasshouses should be both transparent and waterproof. They might test different transparent materials to establish which one does not scratch easily. Such a material may be used to make a pair of sun shades. Samples of lampshades from children’s homes may be examined and their properties assessed. The children can then design their own lampshade, using their own criteria and materials.