Lesson 2

Lighten Up: Designing Lighting Systems

Think Like an Optical Engineer / Grade 5 / Fall River, MA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - Lighten Up: Designing Lighting Systems, L2

Students think like optical engineers as they explore how light interacts with a variety of materials.

Reflection Questions

Before introducing vocabulary words, how does Jessica lay the foundation for student understanding of the terms reflection, absorption, and transmission?

Before formally introducing and defining vocabulary, Jessica listens to student ideas, then sprinkles use of the vocabulary words within the context of her teaching.

  • Jessica starts the lesson with a turn and talk, having students share what they already know (schema) about “how light interacts with materials,” and acknowledges any vocabulary words she hears. (1:40)
  • When modeling how to describe the properties of an overhead transparency sheet, Jessica uses many different terms to describe how light interacts with it, including “passes through,” “bounces off,” “reflects,” “gets sucked into,” and  “absorbs.” Providing multiple descriptions, including new vocabulary words, helps students construct meaning for the terms. (3:54)
  • Not until students have conducted experiments and reported results does Jessica explicitly define the vocabulary when she asks, “Does reflection go with “light goes through the material,” “light bounces off the material” or “light stops at the material?” (8:16–8:47)
  • Finally, Jessica has them add the terms to the glossaries in their science notebooks and provide an example of each. (9:10)