Academics, Upper School

Students Explore Light and Optics

Ninth grade Physical Science students expanded their understanding the science of light and optics in Trimester 2 by creating 3D models that demonstrate how both work in real life.

For science teachers Sophie Daudon and Jeremy Dewitt, the project and presentation were a chance to combine a deeper understanding of topics learned in class with an exercise in how to communicate scientific knowledge clearly and effectively.

"This was an opportunity to introduce visual communication into a project," says Sophie. "One of the most important, and often overlooked, things about being a scientist is learning how to share your ideas or research in a clear and engaging way."

Ninth graders Louis B. and Devin L. chose to present on Snell's Law (also known as the law of refraction). Says Devin: “We were surprised to learn that different substances bend light at different angles – also known as a predicative refractive index.”

Working in pairs, students created a demonstration that explored one of the four major concepts learned this year: pinhole optics, reflection, refraction, and image location. Each group created a visual board of information, containing a description of their subject, real life applications of their scientific topic (e.g. binoculars, glasses, projectors, etc.), and a diagram which clearly explained how light rays function.

"The visual aspect of the light-ray diagram is important," says Jeremy. "So many infographics are thrown at us all the time. It is the medium through which we consume a ton of scientific information, and the students need to learn how to create and communicate through this medium effectively."