After working on the practice of analyzing and interpreting data, sixth graders are discovering some unique happenings between light and different materials.
The light interacted with a mirror in a unique way. The light meter was able to get the highest reading for the amount of reflected light when it was at the same angle as the flashlight (just on the opposing side). We summarized this pattern as light coming off the mirror in a v-shape.
The light interacted with paper in a completely different way. There was no apparent connection between where the flashlight pointed and where the light meter registered the highest amount of reflected light. What's this mean?
That light reflects off smooth, shiny objects in a v-shaped pattern and scatters off rough, unpolished surfaces. Interesting stuff! How does our light model explain this? Or does it?
Students recognized the v-shape pattern that a mirror creates when interacting with light, but what pattern, if any does paper create?
Students asked their own question and planned out their investigation. We'll be analyzing our data to communicate what we found about the differences between how these two materials interact with light!
Students have figured out the conditions necessary to see an object and how a shadow is created. As we move forward in figuring out the answer to our overall Driving Question, "Can I Believe My Eyes?", students are now working on answering the sub-question about how light interacts with different materials.
Students will be collecting data and analyzing the measurements from light hitting various surfaces. The light sensors will help students uncover any patterns that emerge.
How does light actually interact with various surfaces? Only time will tell!
As sixth graders dig deeper into their understanding of how light plays a role in how they see an object, it's important that students also understand what happens to light when it hits an object.
Currently, our consensus model shows what happens when we see an object. But in an investigation involving a flashlight, hand, and screen, students recognized that they saw more than an object. They saw a shadow, too. Our consensus model does not show how we see a shadow and should therefore be revised.
Check back soon to see how our model changes based on new evidence we've gathered!
Today we used light sensors to measure the amount of light coming off of various objects. The data we collected told us a bunch of things.
1. Objects that are light sources emit light...and lots of it. Our readings of these objects were very high (like the projector and the sun coming in our classroom windows)!
2. Objects that were not light sources also have light coming off them, but just not as much. These readings as compared to light sources were lower, but the fact that we got a reading suggests that they do reflect the light coming from a light source.
3. Distance plays a role in how much light can be measured. It varies as the distance to/from an object changes.
Our consensus model supports all these ideas...what will be up to next?!?!
Students revised their models to show how they see an object after a class discussion identified both strengths and weaknesses of their models. While many groups included all the conditions necessary to see an object, many groups failed to show that light is continuous and moves in the direction from a light source outwards. Since scientists are always improving models, this lesson was a good one for students to act just like real scientists do!
Modeling is an important part of a scientist's work. As students dig deeper into understanding how they see things, it will be important that they can represent and explain this phenomenon. Today we had a discussion about what makes a model, as well as thinking about the model that Mrs. Brinza developed to show how the light is visible from a light bulb. We worked through identifying strengths and weaknesses of her model, which used playdoh to represent the light source and toy cars as the rays of light.
Our next steps will be to develop our very own models of how we see an object!
So how is it that we see an object? What has to be present in order for us to know what is there? To see its colors?
Sixth graders are using light boxes to establish the conditions for sight. Keeping the box closed, students discovered that they couldn't see anything in the box. Once the flap was opened, they could see the small toy that Mrs. Brinza put inside.
We'll be using these ideas to continue to ask questions just like real scientists do, as well as begin to develop a working model for this phenomenon.