After weeks of hard work, asking all the questions, coming up with the investigations, and developing countless models to explain the window-mirror phenomenon, we think we can answer so many of the questions we asked when we launched our unit!
I am so proud of you 6th grade! Way to go!
As we revisited our DQB, we recognized that we still had some questions in topics that we hadn't yet explored. Our remaining category focused on color and how maybe changing the color of the walls, the clothing, or the light would make a difference?
Using a prism, we saw how light gets split up in the colors that make it up! We then applied this idea to things we see around us, and if we see them as certain colors, that that color light must be reflecting back to our eyes. This makes us thing that maybe color does matter--colors that reflect more light would enable the phenomenon more clearly, as there would be more light. Darker colors absorb more light, which means they wouldn't reflect as much, making it hard to see things!
We have recognized that our eyes are a vital important part of seeing things! SO what happens when there are multiple sources of light coming at our eyes, like in the orange and blue setups above? We used some research to learn about lots of parts of our eyes, and how our optical nerve and brain work together (with light of course) to see things! So cool!
From all this, we think we can answer many questions on our DQB, with the exception of the color questions! Next we're going to explore light's role in explaining why we see color, and how this would possibly affect the mirror-window phenomenon!
With all our figuring out, it was time to return to the situation that started this all--the teacher being able to see the student in his music room, while he could only see himself! Students worked in groups to explain the phenomenon, then offered feedback to each other on what was evident and clearly explained vs. what needed clarity/removing!
With lots of critical thinking involved, we settled on the following:
Next steps: Recognizing that there are times where we have multiple inputs of light entering our eyes, like when the teacher not only sees the student clearly, but also a slight reflection of herself! How do our eyes work to interpret both of these inputs?
We recognized that all our of investigations have given us a lot of data to support our thinking--that the one-way mirror both transmits and reflects light. However, we have reached a roadblock that we're not really sure how the mirror is structured, as we're stumped on how it can do both at once!
We turned to an article which describes in detail the different between the structure of a mirror, which is glass that has plated silver (or another similar metal) behind it, glass, which has impurities on it otherwise we wouldn't be able to see it at all, and a one-way mirror, which is like a checkered pattern of both glass and a mirror put together. It all began making sense to us as we came to a consensus about what this meant, using our light data to help guide us:
1. A mirror reflects almost all of the light that hits it. No light transmits through it!
2. A one-way mirror reflects and transmits about equal amounts of light.
3. Glass reflects a little light and a lot of light transmits through it!
Our data collection definitely proved to be useful for sure!
We agreed that if we were going to measure the amount of light transmitting and reflecting off a one-way mirror, glass, and a regular mirror, we would need to do so in a fair way so we could truly compare our results. Each time we measured the light, we'd need to be the same distance from the material, and we'd need to make sure the flashlight was the same distance from the material. The basis of a true controlled science experiment, right?
We compiled each table's data and began looking for patterns. Here's what we came up with!
1. The one-way mirror reflected and transmitted light about the same.
2. The glass reflected very little light and transmitted the most of all three materials!
3. The regular mirror seemed to do a flip-flop of the glass (well, sort of)! It reflected the most light of all three materials and transmitted NO light--like NONE at all!!!
From here, we realized we could take our data and revise our models yet again! We had new science ideas supported by our data--that different materials could reflect and transmit different amounts of light!
Revisiting our DQB, there are still lots of questions about the one-way mirror itself. We seemed to have exhausted our understanding of how investigations and models can help us. It may be time to turn to some research to help us!
We know that light goes through, or transmits through the one-way mirror, and that it reflects off it, too! But how do similar materials like glass and a mirror behave with light? Let's test them!
We see that a regular mirror and glass behave similarly, but not the same. Would there be a way to quantify the light--especially since we see that the reflection off the mirror is a lot greater than the reflection off a mirror? Is there something that can help us measure light? You bet there is!
Using a light meter to measure light in a unit called lux, we saw so many things reflect light and the amount of light fluctuate depending on what we put the sensor near! We figured this could be a really helpful tool to measure how much light specifically reflects and transmits through the materials we know may be similar to our one-way mirror!
Recognizing the strengths of various models, we agreed it was time to put together our ideas into a new agreement. We had lots of conversation about what was really happening and we agreed to color code all of our light lines to help show each distinct thought!
We were really wishing there was a way to gather evidence that what we're thinking happens is really happening! Does the one-way material behave this way? Is it similar to glass that's see-through (lets light through) or a mirror that we see our reflection in? Maybe we should see how glass and a regular mirror behave in light?
After agreeing to switch the light, we did just that! We are seeing how the phenomenon switches when we switch the light source. This means that the side that experienced the reflection can now see through the mirror and the side that was only seeing through can now see their reflection!
We also agreed to try out some other investigations while we had time. We saw the following things:
1. You can definitely see through the one-way mirror, even outside of the scale model.
2. You can definitely see your reflection on the one-way mirror even outside of the box!
3. The phenomenon works better when the contrast between the two sides is greatest (like super dark on one side and super bright on the other).
4. Turning off the lights and really making sure there's no light around (like in Mrs. Brinza's supply cloest) showed how with no light, you don't see anything!
5. Going outside and trying the phenomenon with sunlight was tricky--the sun was behind the school at this point, and we didn't have a direct shot of light into the scale model.
Students were asked to show their findings...and we got some interesting things. We had students showing things that we didn't necessarily agree on before or ideas that didn't make sense based on the evidence we had! We needed to step back and reflect!
From our discussion and some new demonstrations, we agreed on the following:
1. Light only travels in straight lines (no curving)!
2. In order to see something, there has to be light in between the object we're looking at and our eyes. Without light in between, it would be like us being in the dark, where we see nothing.
3. This also means that light has to reflect off things, even if they're not shiny. Who knew!
4. The one-way mirror absolutely reflects and allows light through!
Next steps--revise our models with the new evidence we've figured out!
With all our thoughts and questions becoming vivid after establishing our initial consensus model, we needed to publicly document students' questions! We agreed that this would help with our norm focused on equity, and hearing from everyone would hold stake in our figuring-out process.
Each student shared a question about the window-mirror phenomenon, their initial model to explain how it worked, the consensus model we established as a class, or the related phenomena list we created. Look at these great questions!
How do we figure out the answers to these questions? By coming up with investigations, of course! After a thoughtful conversation about how real scientists answer their own questions, we agreed that "looking up answers on Google" isn't something that scientists do to answer their questions, as what they're trying to figure out often doesn't have answers out on the internet. We agreed to answer our questions like real scientists do (our phenomenon is age and developmentally appropriate), and check out these investigation ideas!
We agreed to use the scale models again, and this time focus on what's happening when we switch the light. We've got some ideas about what might happen, and we'll be using what we find to hopefully gather more evidence about how the mirror-window works!