Let There Be Light

Scripture: Genesis 1-2

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn that God created everything , including matter and energy.
  • Students will learn about the difference between matter and energy.
  • Students will learn about light and different sources of light.
  • Students will learn how to create an electrical circuit.

Guiding Question: What can we learn about light by experimenting with it?

Materials: 2 or more glow sticks, LED candles, various types of flashlights, D batteries (one for every two students), tiny light bulbs from old-fashioned flashlights (not LED, one for every two students would be great), aluminum foil, balance scale or small kitchen scale (ounces and/or grams), mirrors

Procedure: Review Bible story. Discuss the necessity of light for life on earth. Demonstrate various sources of light, candle, glow stick (leave one unactivated), flashlight. Use mirrors to reflect the light into various places in the room. Have the students compare/contrast light sources: Which are brighter? Which give off heat? Which last longer? Which require energy? (wax burns as fuel for fire, battery provides electricity for light bulb, chemical reactions inside glow stick give off energy for glow light. Mirrors reflect rather then produce light so do not require energy.)

Explain to the students the things which take up physical space, that we can touch and see, and have mass, like the candle, flashlight, glow stick, mirror, are made of matter, (If you have a scale, weigh the items to find their mass). Give students (individuals, pairs, or teams) a battery and a light bulb. Ask them to try to make the bulb light. (Touching the bulb to the battery will do nothing, because the electrical energy in the battery does not go into the bulb until a circuit is formed.)

Have the students make a simple circuit between the battery and the light bulb: cut strips of aluminum foil 1”x 6”, folding lengthwise into ¼” strips, one per battery; tape one end of foil strip to center bottom (flat end) of the battery; wrap the other end of foil strip around the metal band of the tiny bulb; twist the foil strip to make it stay on (make sure the foil does not touch the bottom of the bulb); touch bottom of bulb to positive “button” on top of the battery. This should complete the circuit, causing the electrical current to flow from the battery through the foil and the bulb should light. CAUTION: connecting the foil strip to top and bottom of the battery without the light bulb will quickly drain the battery

Additional Questions:

  • How does light become a rainbow?

Supplemental Activity: Have students experiment with a prism, a mirror and light to try and create a rainbow.

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