Yesterday we started our exploration of light, reflection, and caustics, looking through an "aesthetic" lens. We started by asking the monks to place a small mirror on the wall, and stand to one side (away from the wall) with a flashlight. They made predictions about where the reflection would fall on the other side, then explained their reasoning before turning on the flashlight and testing their theories.
All developed initial theories, a few created crude measuring devices, and others made guesses. All were engaged in lively debate (as is natural for this group) before testing their theories.
Following the initial activity we handed each of them small sheets of Mylar (a highly reflective, flexible material), and rolled Mylar in a cardboard tube. They proceeded to explore the reflections generated by these materials when lit by their flashlight, and outdoors in the sunlight. Observations were made, new theories generated, and the session ended with a shared discussion about the highly complex, and beautiful reflections.