Online Science Class for Preschoolers: Light Intro

Overview:  Day 5 is an introduction to light.  Children predict and experiment with light using flashlights and mirrors.  The lesson appeals to the Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, and Intrapersonal intelligences.

    •  mirror you can get wet and/or a mirror you can hold.
    • A bright flashlight
    • A sheet of white paper.  You may want to tape it to a piece of cardboard so it holds itself up.
    • Water
    • Shallow pan.  I used a 9” pyrex baking dish.
    • Clear cup
    • Powdered milk
    • Dish soap, sugar, water
    • Two straws
    • Yarn and scissors
    • Pie tin
    • science journal

  • Gather supplies
  • tape white paper to a piece of cardboard

Science Time!
  • Today we'll be experimenting with light!  Did you know light can bend?  Shine a bright flashlight at a mirror and then find where the mirror bent the light.  Let your child experiment with a mirror and a flashlight.  
  • If you bend white light a certain way, you can separate out the colors of the rainbow.  (Your child may have already noticed this, depending on where she shined the flashlight!)  Fill your shallow pan about half full of water.  Place the mirror at one end of the pan so it is about half way underwater.  Place the white paper at the other end of the pan.  Shine your flashlight onto the mirror so that the mirror reflects it onto the paper.  You should be able to get a rainbow on the paper as well.  Let your child experiment with different angles of flashlight and/or mirror placement.
  • The atmosphere (or air around the Earth) bends light from the sun!  Fill your clear glass full of water.  Place the white paper behind it.  Shine the flashlight through the water and see the white light on the paper.  Add a pinch (or two or three) of dry milk to the water and shine the light through again.  The light on the paper should be yellow and the water (depending on your angle) should be blue (just like the sun looks yellow and the sky looks blue).  The milk in the water bent the light and separated out the colors yellow and blue.  If you have enough milk you can get other colors like pink and yellow...just like more pollution/dust in the air gives you beautiful sunsets with lots of colors.  Let your child experiment with the light, angles, and adding more milk (or anything else you want to let her!) to the water.   
  • Bubbles also bend light!  Have you ever noticed rainbows on bubbles?  You can use a store-bought bubble mixture for the last project, or you can try this homemade recipe:  Mix 1 cup liquid dish soap and 1/2 cup sugar into 2 1/2 quarts of water.  Stir it gently so you don't make big suds.  Pour the mixture into a pie tin.  Make a Big Bubble Blower by threading a 2-3 foot long piece of fuzzy yarn through two straws and tying it into a knot.  (I've also tied the yarn to two sticks and had it work very well.)  Soak your Big Bubble Blower in the soap mixture and carefully lift it up and through the air to form your big bubbles.  Watch for rainbows on the bubbles! 
  • Science Notebooks:  Draw or write about what we did today.