A Spark Of Sunlight
"If you want to give light to others
you have to glow yourself."
Thomas S. Monson
This quote really resonated with me this past summer as I was looking for an inspirational message to put up in the classroom. I included it in my classroom design and felt that it was also a wonderful way to begin this blog post about our light investigations. This is the first post of two about our inquiry into the wonders of light. The children continue their interest in light to this day. I think that as their ideas expand so will their investigations as they build upon what they already know. I am happy to share their work which extended from a single child's discovery using the rainbow blocks in the sunlight. Sometimes all it takes is one spark to ignite a multitude of learning.
Luke observed the colourful sunlight on the classroom floor. He stacked the blocks and named each colour as he investigated. The following day he continued his work in the sunlight. Other children began to take interest in his work and joined in on working with the rainbow blocks and sunlight.
We shared Luke's explorations with the children during shared learning time. The class had many questions about the sunlight. We recorded their wonderings for further reflection. After discussing the children's ideas and questions with Miss Virban several colour and light invitations were created within the classroom for the children to explore.
The children explored readily and shared their initial wonderings. We documented their play through video and photos to share with them as a slideshow.
Emma and Jacob eagerly explored at the inquiry table. They each picked up a flashlight and began to shine the flashlights on the bottles. Emma asked for the lights to be turned off to make the classroom darker. Then she lined up the coloured water bottles and moved the flashlight across the top of each bottle in a sweeping motion. She said, "It's like a music phone but it's shining." Jacob shined the flashlight across the bottom of the bottles. The following day we asked them to share their work. Emma shared with the class, "I was shining it on top and Jacob was shining the bottom to make it glow. I noticed that it was glowing. I was flashing the flashlight in the water to see it glow." Jacob shared his wonders, "The bottles were glowing because we shined the light. How does the light go through the bottle?"
Playing with Shadows
Keira chose to work at the inquiry table. It was set with an invitation to explore using flashlights and coloured water bottles. Keira began by drawing on the clipboard. Then she picked up the flashlight. She held it above her hand and created a shadow. Her focus was intent and she excitedly exclaimed, "Look Miss, watch!" Next she opened and closed her hand. She watched the shadow move as she changed the movement of her hand. These initial observations showed us the children's previous experiences and knowledge of light and shadow.
The children explored how light moved through the materials provided at the learning centres. They discovered coloured light projected behind the bottles.
Alexander and Ethan used the colour paddles and flashlights. They compared how the light from the flashlight shone through the coloured water bottles and the colour paddles. Their investigations showed us that there was an interest in learning more about light and it's properties.
Sienna presented her work from the inquiry table. She explained her drawing, "I got markers and mixed them to make colours. Then in the writing centre Jenna helped me colour my picture and then I added a leaf." Next Sienna asked, "How does the light glow?" We continued sharing the photos of the children's initial investigations on the iPad. Ella wondered, "How does the light make colours?" Mason asked, "How do the lights go on?" We documented their conversation and questions. These ideas would lead our planning to support the children in their work.
Eden shared, "At the light table I was making some lemonade with Keira and Jenna."
Colby shared, "We made a pattern with the cars and cups. The red car was in the red cup and we matched them by colour."
Here is a short video compilation of some of their initial work with the flashlights and materials within the classroom.
What is a Shadow?
We set up the overhead projector and a large white sheet in the Kinder Theatre. This was to give the children an opportunity to work with their ideas about light and shadow on a larger scale. During inquiry time the children readily explored how their shadows moved and changed depending on their movements. The children jumped, danced and discussed hand puppets as they investigated.
Light and Shadow Invitation
We observed the children exploring shadows during play block at the invitations we created for them. After discussing their initial ideas in an inquiry circle this invitation was set up at the tables for the children to document their own investigations using the flashlights, wooden blocks and mirrors. I documented their work with photos and the children recorded their work with a drawing. Then I wrote their description of their work on the page. The pages were then put into a book with the photos for further reflection. I wanted to give the children an opportunity to revisit their learning and discoveries that came from this work. The book was placed with our other inquiry books on the book shelf.
Many of the children visited this invitation. There was a great diversity in their approaches with the flashlights and wooden blocks. Some of the children chose to include the mirrors in their work while others worked on their ideas about shadows. Sophia shared her previous experiences with flashlights and demonstrated how she could make her hand glow. Jacob discovered that he could make the shadows move. He moved the flashlight back and forth across the front of his wooden structure making the shadows dance. Each child recorded their work on the clipboards.
Emma discovered as she built her structure that she could light the inside of her structure by trapping the light from the flashlight. She placed the mirror across from her light source reflecting the light back into her structure.
Glowing Light in the Sensory Bin
As we continued to explore with the flashlights the children were offered a variety of materials to use in their investigations. We began our sensory exploration of light by placing plastic coloured ice cubes and flashlights in the sensory bin.
Then as the children worked through their ideas we added to this invitation. We filled the bin with water and added plastic cubes that turn on when submersed in water causing them to light up. Also included were spa lights that floated on the top of the water.
The children readily shared their initial thinking. Keira said, "Oops, I just turned it off I think. These ones don't. See it goes off then back on. See it goes back on." She demonstrated how to place the ice cube in and out of the water making it light up and turn off." Ella shared, "They only work in water." Sienna added, "This one's out of the water Ella." The children continued their play and returned to the bin several times over the following week. They expanded on their ideas and shared their learning with other.
I really enjoyed these investigations with the children and supporting them in their play. There will be another blog post about the rest of their investigations soon. Thank you for taking the time to share in our learning. We hope that we may have inspired you too along the way.
"Shine like the whole
universe is yours."