Kids and Optics

The optics and physics communities have created many fantastic resources aimed at primary and secondary school (K12) students. This page will direct you to a series of links that will let you explore educational material and hands-on resources – for kids of all ages!


Bill Nye the Science Guy: Light Optics and How It Works

SPIE: Light in Action
Kids learn about lasers, cameras, and other cool stuff in this SPIE video; it features kids showing kids (aged 9-11) that science can be fun and exciting and that advancements with light are all around them.

Light at Work
This 42-minute video traces the fast-paced history of the laser and includes exciting visual depictions of laser applications. Targeted to high school and post-secondary students, the video focuses on the characteristics of diode, solid-state and gas lasers and the properties that make them useful in a variety of applications including telecommunications, entertainment, biomedicine and the military.
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The Meaning of Light: the photon who fell to Gaia
The video is the story of a group of stellar photons that, after leaving their parent star, much like our Sun, propagate through the infinite beauty of the Universe. They are then ‘’trapped’’ by a telescope (Gaia) operating in space not far from Earth, and the photons come into contact with a team of scientists: this is where the adventure of tracing them "back" home begins! Such a reconstruction tells us about the main wonders of astrophysics which the light quanta are the bearers together with those related to the complicated theory of Einstein. The theme song "Singing the Stars" evokes the role of Light ("Little thing") as our guide through space-time. Its refrain adds to the famous mnemonic for stellar classification the new very low mass stellar types L-T-Y discovered in recent years.
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Shedding Light on the Photon
L’INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte presents Shedding light on the photon. A short informative video for the year of light 2015.
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Puzzle Facade: a building-sized Rubik’s Cube-style puzzle
A project by Javier Lloret. Puzzle Facade brings the experience to solving a Rubik’s cube to the urban space. The Ars Electronica’s media facade, located in the city of Linz (Austria), is transformed into a giant Rubik’s cube with the help of the pedestrians who are invited to engage in an interactive experience.

Hands On Projects

Find activities that can be done at home from the Exploratorium, the museum of science, art and human perception in San Francisco.
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Hands-On Optics
Through these activities, students gain experience and understanding of optics principles, as well as learning the basics of inquiry, critical thinking, and problem solving skills involving optics.
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Optics4Kids Activities
In this website are experiments that will help you understand the physics of light impress your friends with your new ability to manipulate light and color using nothing but a few gumballs and a shoebox.
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The Optical Society presents Exploring the Science of Light. Find games and ideas for science fair projects. Learn how optics can focus your future!
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Physics and Light introduces the basics of physics to all ages. There are sections on motion, mechanics, light, heat, thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics.
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Educational Videos, Lessons and Games for K-12 School Kids
Light and Optics for Kids - Interesting videos, lessons, quiz games, interactive diagrams, presentations and activities on light and optics.
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Optical Illusions
This site is a fascinating collection of graphic demonstrations of optical illusions and visual phenomena, by Michael Bach of Freiburg University. The illusions include discussion of the science behind the visuals.
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Stanford Solar Center
The Stanford Solar Center provides teachers, students, and the interested public with the latest information about the Sun. They also provide educational resources such, as a popular, free, build-your-own spectroscopes.
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Your Guide to Physics on the Web
This site has is great for browsing articles and interactive features about physics, including light.
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Light & Radiation Interactive Simulations
Fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena from the PhET™ project at the University of Colorado.
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Light Science for Kids
Many topics from a variety of sources, designed for kids.
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Teaching Telecommunications
An Interactive K-12 Lesson Plan Collection for Parents and Teachers.
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How Light Works: The Science of Light and Optics
Various information on light and optics.
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