Grade Range
1st
Group Size
3 students
Active Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
vision, light
Learning Objectives
  • Conduct an experiment that shows that light is needed to see objects.
  • Understand the difference between an illuminated and a luminous object.
  • Explain, with evidence, that some objects can be seen at night and some cannot.
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
A view of Caracas from the same place at day (left) and at night (right).

Overview

Human vision is dependent on light. We can only see if the light-sensitive cells on our retina at the back of our eyes get triggered by light entering the eye. As a result, we can only see objects that either are illuminated and reflect light back into our eyes, or objects that emit light. Any object that is in complete darkness is not visible to the human eye. In this lesson plan, students will place different objects inside a box and view them under different light conditions. By doing so, students will realize that our ability to see an object clearly is light-dependent. The more light that is present, the more details of an object can be seen.

Remote learning: This lesson plan can be conducted remotely. The Engage section of the lesson can be done over a video call, then students can work individually and independently during the Explore section, using the student worksheet as guide. A set of materials can be prepared in advance or students can use materials found around the house. And adult will be needed to assist with the preparation of the box. End the lesson with discussion over a video call during the Reflect section.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 1-PS4-2. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that objects in darkness can be seen only when illuminated.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions. Make observations (firsthand or from media) to construct an evidence-based account for natural phenomena.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data. Record information (observations, thoughts, and ideas).

Use observations (firsthand or from media) to describe patterns and/or relationships in the natural and designed world(s) in order to answer scientific questions and solve problems.
PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation. Objects can be seen if light is available to illuminate them or if they give off their own light.
Cause and Effect. Simple tests can be designed to gather evidence to support or refute student ideas about causes.

Materials


Materials needed for the 'What Do You See?' lesson.

For each student group of 3:

  • Cardboard box (shoe box or mailing box)
  • Black tape
  • Sharpened pencil
  • Various objects that fit into the box, some of them luminous, such as a glow stick, light-up toys, etc.
  • Optional: Flashlight

For the teacher:

  • Utility knife or scissors
  • Double-sided tape

Reviews

|
Science Buddies |
Was this review helpful?
Be the first one to review this lesson plan.
Grade Range
1st
Group Size
3 students
Active Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time
1 hour 15 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
vision, light
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
Learning Objectives
  • Conduct an experiment that shows that light is needed to see objects.
  • Understand the difference between an illuminated and a luminous object.
  • Explain, with evidence, that some objects can be seen at night and some cannot.
Free science fair projects.