Port Noarlunga Primary School

Students Experimenting with Light

Sep 7, 2020 | class story

Year five students in Mrs Sander’s class and Ms Parkes’ class have been learning about light as part of their physical science lessons on Wednesday afternoons.

In Week 7 we investigated how refraction works through two experiments.

The first experiment involved observing what happened to a pencil when it was placed in a clear plastic cup and recording our observations. “The pencil looks like it is in two pieces!” Tyler exclaimed and Sam noted the pencil seemed to be in two different places.

To see what would happen if an item was completely submerged in the water, students replaced the pencil with a sharpener and noticed it still looked like a whole pencil sharpener but it looked larger or much closer than it really was.

The second experiment involved learning about how Indigenous people used refraction to catch fish. Students recreated spear fishing using bowls, buckets, water, red lolly frogs and wooden skewers. Most attempts were successful in shallow water, but as the water became deeper, ‘spearing’ the frog became more difficult as students experienced a larger displacement of objects when light had to travel through more water.

“I think it would be really hard to try spearing a fish in deep water, especially since the fish move, we only tried with frogs that didn’t move and that was hard in the bucket.” Lily said.

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