Topic outline

  • Topic 1

    Introduction to Light

    Light is a type of energy called electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that travels in waves.

    Visible light is a form of EMR you can see.

    Light in a vacuum travels at 300,000,000 meters in a second.

    Light travels slower in water and glass.

    Light travels in straight lines.

    CH340 driver 

    Arduino online editor driver

    Web editor

    Sparkfun SIK

    • Topic 2

      Where does natural light come from?

      The Sun is a yellow dwarf star, a hot ball of glowing gases at the heart of our solar system. Compared to earth, it is massive, but in the universe, other stars are much bigger.

      The sun has a large gravity field, and it is constantly pulling it's outer surface (hydrogen) into the center of its body. This causes a nuclear reaction that produces a full spectrum of light energy, including visible light.

      Light travels to earth as a wave. This is a form of energy that can be converted into many forms, eg heat, chemical and kinetic energy.

      Fun fact

      Sunlight energy that reaches the ground is around 4% ultraviolet, 43% visible light, and 53% infrared. Solar panels mostly convert visible light into electrical energy, and they also can make use of almost half the infrared energy. But solar panels only use a small portion of ultraviolet.

      The Sun (not actual size)

      Without sunlight, earth would cease to exist on earth.

      Fun fact

      The sun's astronomical name is Sol.

      Hence, solar energy.

      • Topic 3

        What is a wave

        A wave is a way of moving energy without moving of matter.

        It is a similar wave form as a wave you see at the beach.

        • Topic 4

          Shadow sticks 01

          over 3000 years ago. ancient engineers were able to build impressive monuments and buildings using little more than a compass and a square and a plumbob.

          All triangles with the same angles are similar.

          Hence the ratios of the sides are the same eg opposite/adjacent.

          Ancient greeks realised they could measure the angle of a triangle with a hypotenuse of 1 and the ratio of opposite divided by adjacent would always be the same.

          Our first experiment is to track the movement of the sun over a period of time.

          Our second experiment is to use a shadow stick to work out the angle of the sun to earth then calculate the angle the solar panel 

          Calculating the angle of the sun is easy.

          if opp = 5 

             adj = 10

          for an angle the tan of the angle = opp/adj =5/10 = .5

          to get the angle use the arctan

          type arctan .5 in degrees into Google and presto! 

          • Topic 5

            Isaac Newton

            • Topic 6

              The composition of visible white light

              Isaac Newton proved white light was composed of other colours.

              • Topic 7

                Electromagnetic spectrum

                The EMR is made up of many types, depending on the wavelength and frequency of the EMR.

                • Topic 8

                  Properties of light : reflection


                  Set up groups of three

                  1. to research

                  1 to bounce balls

                  1 to use the mirror.

                  Ibn al-Haitham

                  Hasan Ibn al-Haytham  c. 965 – c. 1040) was an Arab mathematicianastronomer, and physicist of the Islamic Golden Age.Sometimes called "the father of modern optics", he made significant contributions to the principles of optics and visual perception in particular, 


                  Questions to ponder while you wait

                  1. X-rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Are they light?

                  2. Does light travel form an object into your eye, or does it travel from your eye to object?

                  3. What are colours and how ore they made?

                  Bouncing balls.

                  Can a bouncing ball help us to understand reflection?

                  Find any ball that bounces. Drop it straight down.

                  Find a friend and bounce pass the ball to each other. 

                  Record your observations in your book. Share with your group


                  Balls to bounce


                  Set up a light source. 

                  "Bounce" (reflect) the light 

                  Record your observations in your book. Share with your group




                  2x m-m Dupont connectors

                  2x m-f Dupont connectors

                  1 bright LED

                  1 thin plastic tube


                  Google the term "Reflection of light"

                  Find out the meaning of the following terms in the vocabulary


                  ray, reflect, normal, angle if incidence, angle of refraction.


                  Combine you data and see if you can infer a hypothesis about the nature of the reflection of light.

                  Further ponderance

                  Does the data projector work on light or magic?

                  Try reflecting light around a shield to test your hypothesis.

                  • Topic 9

                    Reflection of light

                    • Topic 10

                      Refraction of a wave

                      Notice how the wave breaks into two fronts, each travelling in a slightly different direction.

                      As the wave breaks, the sand underneath causes the waves to travel at different speeds.

                      • Topic 11

                        Dark side of the moon

                        An iconic album cover from the Pink Floyd album showing light refracting through a prism.

                        No one really knows what the were getting at.

                        • Topic 12

                          Properties of light : refraction

                          Assumed knowledge

                          • Students know that visible light is made up all of the primary colors of light: ROY G BIV where each color represents a range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
                          • Students know that light travels in a straight line until it strikes another object or substance.
                          • Students know that light is a form of energy.


                          • beaker of jar
                          • ruler or pencil
                          • coin or washer
                          • source of water

                          Guiding questions

                          • What do you predict will happen to your perception of the pencil when it is placed halfway in a glass of water?
                          • What happens to the appearance of a pencil when it is placed in the water?. 
                          • Does light behave the same way in all types of media : gas, liquid, solid? Explain that media refers to more than one medium.

                          Activity part 1

                          The teacher will facilitate a classroom discussion about the demonstration by posing the questions: What do you notice about the pencil once it's in the water? Does this match your prediction? Why do you think this happens?

                          • Fill jar completely.
                          • Place on it's side over some large text
                          • Observe what happens as the jar is rolled over it
                          • Record observations

                          Activity part 2

                          Explain to the student that he/she is going to place a pencil in a transparent glass with water in it.

                          • He/she will ask them to predict what they think will happen to how they see the pencil.
                          • He/she will then fill a clear cup ¾ the way full with water, and place a pencil in the water.
                          • Record observations

                          Activity part 3

                          Explain to the student that he/she is going to place a washer in a cup and make it appear.

                          • Break into partners.
                          • Place a coin/washer in a cup.
                          • One partner walks backwards so they just annoy see the coin.
                          • The second partner slowly adds water to the cup until the coin/washer appears.
                          • Record the depth of the water.


                           Then the teacher will explain that light bends when it moves from one medium to another. The bending of light rays is called refraction. Since water is denser than air, when the light passed through the water changes speed (slows down), bends,  allowing you to see the penny at the bottom of the cup.

                          • Topic 13

                            rob LED : Paying with colors (Arduino style)

                          • Topic 14


                            • Topic 15


                              • Topic 16


                                • Topic 17


                                  • Topic 18


                                    • Topic 19


                                      • Topic 20


                                        <table border="0" align="left" style="width: 100%;">



                                        <td width="45%" valign="top"></td>

                                        <td width="30%" valign="top"></td>

                                        <td width="25%" valign="top"></td>



                                        <td width="45%" valign="top"></td>

                                        <td width="30%" valign="top"></td>

                                        <td width="25%" valign="top"></td>



                                        <td width="45%" valign="top"></td>

                                        <td width="30%" valign="top"></td>

                                        <td width="25%" valign="top"></td>




                                        • Topic 21

                                          • Topic 22

                                            • Topic 23

                                              • Topic 24