Light and Shadows - Lesson 6 | Amazing Liquid Light

Downloadable ( 1 PDF - 8 pages) 

Watch as light appears to bend in this optics experiment. Here, students learn that light isn’t really bending. The stream of water acts like a tube lined with mirrors on the inside (the technical name is total internal reflection) and the light is bounced back and forth, remaining within the stream of water. This mimics how a fibre optic cable works - light travels down a glass tube that is surrounded by a jacket (called cladding) which is one continuous, inward facing mirror. Since light only travels in straight lines and cables need to turn and bend, this ensures that the signal is always transmitted. 

After completing these experiments, students will:

  • Understand that light can be reflected, absorbed, and refracted
  • Examine how light is transmitted through different mediums (water and fiber)
  • Discover the critical angle for light traveling from water to air and the angle of incidence

Resources included:

  • Lesson plan
  • Experiment outline
  • Student reflection worksheet

Additional resources required:

  • 1 tall glass jar with screw on lid per group
  • Hammer
  • 1 large nail
  • 1 small nail
  • 1 flashlight per group
  • Duct tape
  • Newspaper
  • Water
  • Sink or container

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