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Elementary Science

Misconceptions about Light

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Sarah Valero Sarah Valero 190 Points

Hi, I am doing a science lesson about the misconceptions that 1st graders have about light. Since light is such a broad topic, I am looking to narrow it down. What type of lessons on light do you think would be beneficial for 1st graders?

Kristi Brockschmidt Kristi Brockschmidt 2440 Points

This is a great topic! I'm considering doing a light unit later this year with my kids (I'm in a small private school). At first grade, light is primarily addressed in relationship to our sense of sight. When it's dark (we can't see), when there is light we can! Similarly, when we put things in the path of the light: mirrors, opaque objects, translucent objects light is blocked or not. What light is, how it's made, it's speed, is not addressed at this age. My son's 2nd grade class went on a field trip to a cave. At one point the tour guide turned off the light. There was NO light anywhere. It was the blackest, darkest place I've experienced. But still our 'brains' tried to see something because we knew things were there! It was a great way to reinforce that we weren't actually 'seeing' things with our eyes (because there was no light at all), but the brain was making things up!

George Mehler George Mehler 1575 Points

Hi Sarah, light is such a great topic. I am a professor of science methods at Temple University and I think I may be able to help. I have been developing a YouTube Channel called FunScienceDemos that has hundreds of free video demonstrations for young learners. This is the link to the playlist of light focused videos. Check it out and subscribe to our channel as we are consistently releasing new videos! Best of luck, Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University

Caitlin Woods Caitlin Woods 1235 Points

Go to the teaching channel website and look at this video. This will give you many ideas for exploring light for students.

Kelsi Wiechkoske Kelsi Wiechkoske 1685 Points

When teaching first graders, I would suggest you be very literal. I am currently in a first grade class, and they tend to need to see exactly how things are (not abstract); they are not too good with things they cannot physically see. I saw a video where a teacher built an area of the classroom that was dark and then used flashlights, and it seemed to work great for her!

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