Sorting Task: Interaction Of Light And Matter, Practice 11

Expendable Cost/Group: US $5.00 Cost includes LED flashlights that may require replacement after extensive use.

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Group Size: 3

Activity Dependency:

Subject Areas:Physics, Science and Technology

NGSS Performance Expectations:


Quick Look


Grade Level: 8 (7 – 9) Time Required: 45 minutes Group Size: 3 Subject Areas:

Science and Technology

NGSS Performance Expectations:


Units serve as guides to a particular content or subject area. Nested under units are lessons (in purple) and hands-on activities (in blue).

Note that not all lessons and activities will exist under a unit, and instead may exist as “standalone” curriculum.

Laser Light Properties: Protecting the Mummified Troll! Protecting the Mummified Troll Learning Light's Properties Laser Types and Uses Security System Design

Unit Lesson Activity


In a hands-on way, students explore light”s properties of absorption, reflection, transmission and refraction through various experimental stations within the classroom. To understand absorption, reflection and transmission, they shine flashlights on a number of provided objects. To understand refraction, students create indoor rainbows. An understanding of the fundamental properties of light is essential to designing an invisible laser security system, the ongoing objective in this unit. This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


Students explore light

Engineering Connection

In designing laser-based security systems, engineers consider the implications of the penetrating properties of electromagnetic radiation. The concepts of wave absorption and transmission are fundamental in the design of laser based security systems, and have additional applications in biomedical engineering. In x-ray imaging, various tissue types result in a range of transmittances that can be recorded to depict bones on x-ray film. Engineers must also be aware of safety concerns; even low doses of high-energy radiation can be dangerous, especially in the case of gamma radiation. For cancer radiation treatments, control of high-energy radiation can be beneficial, but must be carefully managed. Students consider the potential real-world uses of various types of radiation in questions 2 and 5-9 of the post-activity assessment handout.

Learning Objectives

After this activity, students should be able to:

Explain the properties of light as related to security systems.Describe which objects reflect, absorb or transmit light.Explain light refraction as applied to rainbows that appear in nature.Identify a number of applications of radiation to science and technology today.

This activity also meets the following Tennessee Foundations of Technology educational technology content standards: 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0.

This activity also meets the following National Science Education Standards (NSES) teaching standards: A, B, C, D, E, F; see

Educational Standards

Each lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g.

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, by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards – Science

NGSS Performance Expectation Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts

MS-PS4-2. Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials. (Grades 6 – 8)

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This activity focuses on the following Three Dimensional Learning aspects of NGSS:
Develop and use a model to describe phenomena.

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A sound wave needs a medium through which it is transmitted.

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When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object”s material and the frequency (color) of the light.

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The path that light travels can be traced as straight lines, except at surfaces between different transparent materials (e.g., air and water, air and glass) where the light path bends.

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A wave model of light is useful for explaining brightness, color, and the frequency-dependent bending of light at a surface between media.

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However, because light can travel through space, it cannot be a matter wave, like sound or water waves.

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Structures can be designed to serve particular functions by taking into account properties of different materials, and how materials can be shaped and used.

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International Technology and Engineering Educators Association – Technology


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