Learn all about light in a totally unique way in our 'Science and History of Light' workshop, with the full day, single class version comprising of a fun scientific and historical timeline followed by three activities on how light behaves from the moment a photon leaves an atom to how it is used in the modern world.
Pupils learn about the birth of photography by wearing Victorian clothes and have their picture taken with a genuine 1880 brass lens; move to the modern age by making digital ipad 'light paintings' and finally look at Victorian 3d stereoviewers and make paper light toys to take home.
All in all, this workshop offers a perfect combination of the science and history of light that pupils will remember long after the event and it can be used as either a single 'wow' day for one class, or any of the activities can be chosen as a one hour experience for a single class as part of a multi science day.
ACTIVITIES IN THE FULL DAY VERSION OF THIS WORKSHOP:
(This can be for one class, several classes in turn, or choose one activity as part of a multi science day with other classes)
1. INTERACTIVE PRESENTATION: THE SCIENCE, HISTORY (& FUN) OF LIGHT
The harnessing of light at the birth of photography spanned the Victorian era and is one of the greatest scientific achievments of mankind. We look at this process in this activity as pupils get to grips with the technical problems faced by those early photographic pioneers such as Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox-Talbot.
Beginning with a close up look at genuine Victorian cameras, we then move on to pupils taking turns to take each others' photos in costume with a genuine 1880 brass lens stopped down to a 2 second exposure. Pupils then face the challenge of staying completely still so their photos aren't blurred, just like in a Victorian studio (very hard for some pupils :) All pictures are then transferred over to your school computer for you to use in your topic work afterwards.
Also featuring in our Incredible Inventions and Victorian Inventions workshops, this activity is extremely popular and quite unique. After all, when will pupils ever get the chance again to have their picture taken with a Victorian lens?
3. DIGITAL LIGHT PAINTING
2. VICTORIAN PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO
After freezing to have their pictures taken in the Victorian task, it's now all about movement as pupils make brilliant light paintings in front of our ipad with its fantastic light painting app and custom made fibre optic torches.
Whether they choose to do abstract paintings or something more traditional such as their name, bunny ears or the outline of their bodies, the choice is theirs in this imaginative and creative activity.
We also (where possible) connect it to your interactive whiteboard, which shows in real time the amazing pictures the pupils are creating for the rest of the class to see. As per the Victorian photo task, when we finish all the pictures are then transferred over to your school computer for you to use in your topic work afterwards.
This interactive presentation sets a perfect context for the rest of the day's learning activities in a fun way with lots of front of class participation.
Beginning with a very scientific (yet pupil friendly) explanation of how light works, we soon move on to an historical timeline outlining the uses and development of light, from the first attempts to measure its speed, to the world changing invention of Thomas Edison's lightbulb.
Other wow moments include a look on screen at the amazing natural agates, which only let certain light wavelengths through due to their crystal mineral structure; the collimating effect of perspex rods and fibre optics, which use light to send complex communications in the modern world, and even a comparison of how the eyes of different animals see light using the magnificent Horse-inator glasses, which let pupils experience life through a horse's eyes!
It's always nice when we can make it possible for pupils to take something home from a workshop and this activity allows just that, with pupils making replicas of amazing Victorian optical toys to take home.
Beginning by looking at the incredibly realistic 3d stereoviewers (currently with genuine, age appropriate WW1 pictures to match the centenary commemorations), pupils learn how to make several paper light toys to take home such as the Thaumotrope and the Phenakistoscope in a very popular activity that is great fun for pupils and teachers alike.
4. STEREOVIEWS AND PAPER OPTICAL TOYS
THIS SCIENCE WORKSHOP
AT A GLANCE
A full day or a single 1 hr session
as part of a multi science day.
For these year groups as per the 2014 National Curriculum:
Y3 / Y6
NC objectives covered:
All objectives for both year groups apart from shadows investigations (which you are best doing yourself over a period of days), from basic knowledge of how light works, to how light is used to transmit information via fibre optics, to old and modern methods of capturing and manipulating light