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K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Physics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 60 minutes
  • Experiments
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus




How Does Light Travel?

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  • In these two experiments, students will use a flashlight, different objects, and mirrors to understand that light travels in a straight line, opaque objects block light and create shadows, and reflective ones can change the direction of light.
  • Students will shine a flashlight on opaque and transparent objects to understand shadows and use mirrors to try to get light to go around corners.
Teaching Tips


  • These two experiments are simple but effective in demonstrating how light interacts with objects.
  • Students will love the hands-on and inquiry-based nature of these experiments.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This resource is part of the 37-page document and is only on pages 15-17.
  • Students should understand what light is and that it can come from the sun or manufactured sources, such as a flashlight.
  • It may benefit students to have the words transparent, opaque, and reflective defined before beginning the experiments.


  • Some students may need more guidance on how to get light to travel around corners. Pair these students with those who are more experimental, or assist them and provide them with tips.
  • Provide students with translucent objects and discuss the difference between transparent and translucent objects.
  • Ask students to label objects around the room as either transparent or opaque, then have them test their items with a flashlight.
  • Have students practice writing sentences using the structure; "The (object) is (transparent/opaque) because it (does or doesn't) make a shadow.
  • Take students outside to observe shadows cast by the sun.
Scientist Notes

This resource is from the CLEAN collection. “The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness.”


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
    • PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
      • 1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.
      • 4-PS4-2. Develop a model to describe that light reflecting from objects and entering the eye allows objects to be seen.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.II.1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
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