Physics 3xxxW: Physics for Future Elementary School Teachers
Cycle 6, Activity 2: Children’s ideas about light and vision
Key question: What types of ideas do elementary school students have about light, and how might evidence impact children’s thinking?
Activity Purpose: In this activity, you will analyze two different videos involving 3rd and 4th grade students’ ideas about vision and reflection. The purpose of this activity is for you to get a sense of the types of pre-instructional ideas children have involving how we see things, and to think about how these ideas might evolve through classroom experimentation.
Initial Ideas (before viewing videos)
1. To begin a unit on light with her 3rd grade students, Ms. Jackson shows students a flashlight and asks them to draw pictures representing how they are able to see light. What initial ideas about how we see light do you think the 3rd grade students might express?
2. Early in Cycle 6 you conducted an experiment involving a mylar square and white paper sitting on the center of the table. You were asked to predict what each person standing around the table would see when the lights were turned off and a flashlight directed at the center of the table was turned on.
Imagine that 4th grade students conducted a similar experiment with only a mirror (not the white paper) in the center of the table. Imagine that they were asked to predict which of the four students standing around the table would see the light. What type of predictions do you think these students would make? Why do you think so?