Bending Light

Different colors of the spectrum travel at different speeds through media, causing them to refract at different angles—which allows humans to see their colors. Through a simulation, pupils see how air, water, and other media bend light. They explore indices of refraction, play with prisms, change light sources, and create rainbows.  

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Additional Tags

Instructional Ideas

  • Ask learners to make predictions about where the light will bend with each substance, the angle measurements between substances, and the colors they will see
  • Discuss the differences between refraction and reflection and objects that do both
Classroom Considerations

  • Assumes pupils have some knowledge about the visible spectrum and about wavelengths

  • Includes an introduction, a simulation about prisms, and a simulation using more tools
  • Available in a plethora of different languages

  • None
Common Core