Thursday, October 24, 2013

Origin of Light

              This learning group was inspired by our students interest in the observing the moon in the sky both at night and during the day. We then showed them a projected image of the moon in the sky on the wall, and this led to exposure to movies of the sun, stars and comets in space that were projected onto the wall. During other explorations, the students were also very interested in turning different lights on and off. These two observations of the children’s thinking has formed the big question, “Where does light come from?”
                When first introduced to the image of the moon, Casey and Mustafa identified it but were not as interested in it as they were when on the walks with their parents. So then I projected a video of the sun onto the wall and they were intrigued by the movement, the colors that they saw. At first, Casey identified it as the moon, and then he placed his hand on the wall and said, “Hot!” Jad made the connection between the projected video and the red cellophane that he then placed over his eyes to look through at the image. It wasn’t until we projected a video of stars that the children made the connection that they all give off light. When Connor saw the stars, he pointed up at the projected video and said, “Light!” When Abigail saw the projection, she looked at the wall and said, “Wow,” in soft whisper. 

                After this exploration, we went on a search around the building for different lights. We walked into the art studio and observed where the lights were and then in the teachers office. When the lights were turned off, it became very dark and the children found flashlights that they turned on and pointed at each other and on their bodies. When we explored the lights in the seminar room, they were very interested in where the light went and where it came from when the light was turned on and off multiple times. They would turn their heads in search for how it happened. This showed us that they the children knew the light came from somewhere, so the next exploration we decided to have them explore light sources that they can directly manipulate.

 We brought out the tap light that created stars on the walls and ceiling when turned on along with the other tap lights and flashlights. We had them in the darkest part of our classroom so when turned on; the children were able to focus directly on the light source that they manipulated. As Mustafa turned the tap light on and off, he would look around the room to observe what was happening when he turned it on and off. When a teacher would turn a light off, Mariana would say, “Turn light on!”
The children have explored how they can control where the light comes from and whether there will be light or no light. I wonder what their ideas are of how they get the light and where it comes from? Do they associate it with the on and off switches? Are they curious how light can come from all of these different things? I intend to further explore these questions with the children to gain a better understanding of their thinking.