We are wrapping up a science unit in which we investigated reflection and refraction. The textbook talks about the pencil in the water demonstration, but I find it much more meaningful to students if we actually do it as an inquiry lesson. Here is our recording sheet we used and then glued into our interactive science notebooks:

Now that we are {more than} halfway through the year, I expect students to do all the writing rather than me filling in some of the sheet. To get started, I passed out the sheet to each student and placed a clear plastic cup and a new pencil on each table for two students to use. I then asked them to think about how we might use the materials to demonstrate refraction. They quickly came up with step 1 (fill the cup with water) and step 2 (place a pencil in the cup). After filling those in, they put the pencil in the water and then wrote their observation and conclusion.

This took just a few minutes and easily available materials, and it gave students a great visual as they think about refraction of light. Hands on is so the way to go!

If you'd like my recording sheet, click the picture to download.

1 comment

  1. A simple but very useful and interesting experiment.

    Congratulations for your blog. I've included it in my blogroll.



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