In the book What Happens If . . ? there are a few pages of experiments with shadows. You will learn that when your hand is close to the light source your shadow is larger because it blocks a lot of light, but when your hand is farther away from the light source your shadow is small because it blocks less and less light. We used different items to make shadows, seeing that some shadows are black and some are 'gray' because the material lets some light through. We cut an egg shape out of butter muslin and a chick out of paper. We taped the chick in the middle of the egg. The shadow looked like a chick inside an egg.
Science: Understanding Your Environment also has a chapter on light. We read about light and heat energy. We learned that where there is heat there may be light and where there is light, there is almost always heat. We used a thermometer to find out the temperature of ice water and tap water. We looked around the house for light sources, heat sources, and items that gave off both light and heat. We read about light being reflected and found things in pictures and around the house that reflected light. We used two small mirrors and a penny to see how many reflections we could make of the penny. We put five colorful blocks in a paper bag, then I had K. stand in a dark closet and look in the bag to see what colors she could see. So we discovered that there must be light to see colors. We found items around the house that light could go through and items that light could not go through.
We did a couple experiments from the book 365 More Science Experiments.
- We used a glass of water to magnify the small writing on a box of pudding. page 53
- We made a movie screen by putting a small hole (about 1" x 1-1/2") in opposite sides of a box. Then I gave K. a clear transparency with the size of the hole marked and markers. I asked her to draw a picture in the box. We put a piece of white paper on the wall, held the box close to the wall and shone a flashlight through the two holes. We could see the picture. Then we moved the box farther from the wall. The picture became larger, fuzzy, and unclear. As the light source moves farther from the wall the light same amount of light spreads out to fill a larger area. page 53
In Let's Experiment:
- We made a kaleidoscope with some colored beads and 3 small mirrors. Arrange two stacks of books to be about 10 inches tall. Put a piece of glass across the stacks and put some colorful beads on the glass. Take three small mirrors and arrange them into a triangle. You can hold them together with tape or rubber bands. Hold the mirrors about two inches above the beads and discover how a kaleidoscope works. page 110
- We have a periscope, so we didn't make one. Instead we played "Hide and Seek" with it. One of us chose a location in a bedroom (must be in plain sight). The other person stood outside the room and used the periscope to locate the person in the room.
- Bending light (putting a straw in a glass of water) takes place every time the light waves pass from one medium to the next.
- We proved that air bends sunlight. Place a stack of books on the table. The stack should be almost as tall as a large glass jar. Put a short (2 inch) candle about 2 feet from the stack of books and light the candle. When you look straight across the top of the books you should not be able to see the candle. (If you can make the candle shorter.) Then fill the jar to the brim with water and screw the lid on. Lay it down next to the stack of books and look across the books, through the jar. You should be able to see the candle.
- Experiment showing that when you add water to a bowl, the light refracts (bends) so that while looking across the top edge of the bowl, you can see the penny on the bottom of the bowl.
- We made a pin-hole camera. It only works well if you are looking at something really bright and are in standing in a dark room. It worked well while we were standing in my parent's kitchen and looking at the open blinds where the sun was shining in brightly.
- Putting light back together. Take a 4 inch diameter cardboard circle. Divide it into sixths. Color each sixth a different color: red, violet, blue, green, yellow, and orange. Poke a small hole in the center, insert a toothpick and glue it in place. When the glue is dry, stick the toothpick in the chuck of a drill. Hold the drill so you can watch the disk and turn it on. At a certain speed, all the colors will blend and you should see a white disk. Ours didn't get white, but it did get pink. Maybe our red was too dark.
- We learned about our eyes, and watched our pupils get smaller when we went from a dark room to a brightly lit room.
- Sun and Shadow. We went outside and I traced K.'s shadow with sidewalk chalk. Then a couple hours later we did the same thing to see how our shadows change. We talked about why.
- Separating the colors in black. Flatten a coffee filter and draw a line across it with a black water base marker (not permanent). Put water in a glass. The water should be about 3/4-inch below the black line of the filter. Roll the filter up and put it in the water. Watch the water flow up the filter. When the water reaches the top of the filter, take the filter out and let it dry. How many colors do you see? Black ink is made of a mixture of colors.
- Turning black and white into color. There is a black and white circle on the page to photocopy. Cut it out and glue it on cardboard. Make a small hole in the center. Stick a toothpick through and glue it in place. Spin the circle like a top (the circle should spin between five and ten turns per second). You should see colors. We sorta did.
- Turning Blue. We learned why the sky is blue. In the experiment, K. dropped milk into a glass of water until the water looked blue. The sunlight hit the milk particles and reflected blue to our eyes, just like the sunlight hits the dust particles in the air, which reflects blue to our eyes.
From Mirrors: Finding out about the Properties of Light by Bernie Zubrowski
- We played a game of hide and seek using four small mirrors on the table. We each put our chins on the edge of the table and then "It" tried to find the other person using all four mirrors.
- We played another game with the four mirrors. We taped eyes on one, ears on another, a nose on the third, and the mouth on the fourth. Then tried to line up the mirrors so we could see the face correctly in a mirror. We succeeded, but the nose and ears aren't quite right in the picture.
- Light: Shadows, Mirrors, and Rainbows by Natalie M. Rosinsky -- this is an easy reading book with large, colorful illustrations.
- Shadow-Play by Paul Fleischman -- this is a picture book about two children who see a play at the fair, but at the end you find out that the people in the play were just shadows.
- The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson -- a picture book naming night time things
- Eli-s Night Light by Liz Rosenberg -- a picture book about a boy's night light burning out and all the things he discovers that bring light into his room
- Sun Up, Sun Down: The Story of Day and Night by Jacqui Bailey -- a picture book about the sun and the rotation of the earth. At the end of the book it shows how to make a sun dial
- Lights for the Night: A First Look at Illumination by Solveig Paulson Russell -- I skipped over some of the stuff at the beginning of the book, but I have divided the book into sections and we are reading some each week.
- Sisters of Scituate Light by Stephen Krensky -- a picture book story about two sisters that are left to take care of the lighthouse, and how they scare the British away during the War of 1812. This is a true story.
- Fireflies in the Night by Judy Hawes -- this is a Stage 1 Read-and-Find-Out Science book
- How Do You Know It's Summer? by Ruth Owen -- a picture book about summer, and the longest day of the year