Teacher Notes

Properties of Light

Created by: Kristal Pride
Saddleback Valley Unified School District 
URL: http://www.can-do.com/uci/lessons99/light.html 
URL:  http://www-sci.lib.uci.edu/SEP/CTS99/light.html


Background Info.:  Electromagnetic energy comes in different forms because of the varying wavelengths of each wave.  Some of these waves we can see, some we can feel, and others can be extremely harmful.  Below is a chart of electromagnetic energy and its various forms.


Cosmic rays Background radiation; particles of enormous energy given off by stars.
Gamma radiation Deadly high energy given out by the sun and other stars.
X rays High energy used in X ray equipment.
Ultraviolet rays Invisible energy waves in sunlight, which cause skin to tan.
Visible light Basic colors of light, emitted by the sun and visible to the human eyeROYGBIV.
Infrared rays Rays of heat energy; sensed by our nervous system.
Radio waves Microwaves; TV; radio energy

1.  Computer with internet access

2.  Activity sheet

Procedure:  Use your activity sheet to record the answers to the questions.  When traveling to a hyper link site make sure to READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE CLICKING.

PART A: POINTS TO PONDER.  By the end of the lesson you should be able to answer the following questions.  Record your answers on the activity sheet.  You will need to work through the entire lesson before being able to answer each question completely.

1.  Why do we see a blue sky?
2.  Why do we see white clouds?
3.  Why do we see red, orange, and/or yellow sunsets?


Use the hyper links to find definitions for each of the words below.  Provide an illustration for each term.  Sometimes the definitions will not be clear and you will need to interpret what you read to get a definition.  Record your answers on your activity sheet.

1.  Wavelength 2.  Crest
3.  Trough 4.  Medium
5.  Spectrum 6.  Reflection
7. Scattering 8.  Refraction (make sure to view both areas of refraction.)
9.  Diffraction

There are other links associated with each of the ones above.  Make sure and visit some of them and read them.  You may find the answers to the questions from part A.


Visit the following link to experiment with refraction.  If possible, try every combination to gain a better understanding.  Draw a picture and include the details of at least 1 of your experiments.


As you have learned, light travels in waves.  When those waves enter our eyes we see objects and color.  We recognize the color of an object from the color that is reflected.  For example, we see that a flower is red because it reflects red light.  For some people however, the component of the eye that recognizes color (cones) are either not present or they do not function correctly.  Go to the link color blind and follow the directions on color recognition.  


Investigate the light debate and decide which side of the argument you think has the most supported information.

Visit Newton's Apple and participate in some of the activities.

Learn more about how some of the shortest waves in the electromagnetic spectrum heat your food at microwaves.
Experiment with a prism
See an image shimmer.


Quick Links - Select and click "Go"

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Last Updated October 11, 1999
Revised August 8, 2000