See the Light
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
So what is light, anyway? Why does it come in different colors? How is sunlight different from a light bulb?
Light as we know it started with the original light bulb our sun. So, let's start our field trip at the Stanford Solar Center. Here, students see brilliant sun pictures, read sun-related facts and information, as well as the latest on storms and spots that occur on the surface of the sun.
What trip to the sun would be complete without a trip to the stars? Light hunters will want to check out ThinkQuest's kid-created star site. Visitors learn how stars form, compare our sun with some other (bigger) stars, and explore our solar system. Young astronomers also visit the sun during a solar eclipse through pictures by a Smithsonian photographer. And remember, it's only a Web site; you can't really look into the sun during an eclipse.
So now students have seen the light the biggest light of all. But what about artificial light how is it different from the sun? Find out at the next stop: the light dissection at the Exploratorium. See what happens when you bend rays and split sunlight apart. Discover what white light is and why it isn't really white. Visitors will be tempted to explore further the colorful side of light with a mix-n-match activity, which puts them in control of the only three colors needed to make over 16,000 new shades! Try mixing colored light to create your own shades.
On your next stop, advanced students will go from exploring light to experimenting with real and artificial light. At Physics 2000, you'll be the guide, as students explore dozens of lessons and hands-on activities about sunlight, lightbulbs, lasers, color, and TV. They'll find out how these things are similar and different.
As you come to the end of your field trip, you'll explore another side of light. Because light is energy; not only does it make you feel hot on a sunny day, but it can be used to generate electricity. Visit the Solar Now project at Beverly High School to see how one class is using solar energy and to understand more about sun power. In the future, solar electricity might become more common than it is today. Can you imagine using a solar computer, a sun-powered refrigerator, or a solar car? Light is everywhere, and it just might become the "wave of the future."