This lesson isn’t just great for introducing simple and complex concepts about light—it’s also beautiful.
Begin this activity with students arranged in groups at lab stations, each with a drip chamber and white paper on the table top. Before darkening the room, show students how to position the flashlight (phone), chamber, and paper, and ask them to predict what they’ll see.
After witnessing the effects caused by the drip chamber, have students discuss or record their observations. Ask whether they have questions, and what they want to try next.
Students may want to know what will happen if they:
Change the height of the flashlight or drip chamber
Add more fluid
Use a different fluid
Tilt the chamber
Let them experiment while carefully recording their results. These observations can relate to core scientific concepts as well as Science and Engineering Practices.
Students do not have to have any background knowledge to begin investigating the phenomena seen in this Snack. However, concepts ranging from basic to advanced can be incorporated, from patterns and prediction to how transparent drips cause these optical effects to more advanced topics like ray diagrams and refraction.
This Snack is great for use with young children, as well. They can safely experiment and investigate this phenomena as a whole class or in small groups. This Snack makes a great introduction to transparent media and pattern generation.
This Snack makes a good writing prompt for students, allowing them to practice describing what they see.