Light is a paradoxical form of energy. If a bright light shines directly into our eyes it can blind us, but we cannot see without it. Light reflecting from objects allows us to see them, even though we can’t see light moving through clear air. Light has colors in it, but the blend of all visible colored light is white, while the absence of all light is darkness, which we call “black.”
Spend a week with Montshire at Home exploring how light behaves. Study shadows and sundials. Make prisms to separate light into its colors. Paint with moving light and study the glow from the moon. Watch videos, follow the activity guides, and more!
Explore how light behaves by studying shadows and sundials, making prisms, light painting, and more!
A shadow occurs when light is blocked by an object. Experiment with shadows to begin exploring some of the properties of light.
By tracing the shadow of an object over the course of the day, you can track how shadows change as the Sun moves across the sky. Use chalk to trace your own shadows throughout the day, and build a sundial. Download the activity sheet to get started.
Download this template and make a sundial for your yard. A sundial can be fairly accurate if set up correctly (although sun time is not the same as clock time). The red arrow on the sundial must face north. To find north in your yard use a map, an app, a compass, or the North Star the night before you make your sundial.
Stars (like our sun) create their own light. The moon and planets are visible because they reflect light from the Sun. Montshire educator Amy explains and introduces a fun new activity for this week. Download the activity guide to get started.
Many of us think of a mirror when asked where we can see our reflections, but there are many things besides a mirror that are smooth and shiny and reflect most of the light that hits them. Find as many things in and around your house that reflect light well enough that you can see yourself in them.
When light hits a transparent material, like glass or plastic, it may bend a little as it enters the material and again as it exits. The angle and shape of the material determines how much the light will bend or refract. A prism and a hand lens both use refraction to create a rainbow and magnify an object.
Download our activity guide to see this in action.