Science in Focus: Shedding Light on Science

Eight one-hour video programs and user guide.

This workshop uses light as a theme to explore topics in physics, chemistry, biology, space science, and Earth science. Light is a common thread through many areas of science and a natural topic for interdisciplinary science study. Make connections to real world phenomena and explore the behavior of light, the transformation of energy, and the role of light in the weather, the seasons, and the production of food by plants.

Program guides and supporting materials: (PDF)

Produced by:
Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory
in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation (1999)

Workshop 1 - Shine and Shadow
Light is a form of energy that affects all facets of our lives. In this workshop we will explore how light travels and how shadows are formed.
Workshop 2 - Laws of Light
Light energy has predictable properties when it interacts with matter. In this workshop we will investigate the absorption, reflection, and refraction of light.
Workshop 3 - Pigments, Paint, and Printing
The colors that surround us provide a rich visual experience. In this workshop we will investigate the effects of mixing colors of light and colors of pigment.
Workshop 4 - Color, Cones, and Corneas
Humans are able to see objects when light energy enters the eye. In this workshop we will investigate human vision and the perception of color.
Workshop 5 - Sunlight to Starch
Green plants convert light energy into chemical energy. In this workshop we will examine green plants grown with and without light and discover how they use light energy to produce food in the process known as photosynthesis.
Workshop 6 - Energy and Ecosystems
The food made by plants is a source of energy for other organisms living in ecosystems. In this workshop we will investigate the flow of energy from plants to animals as we construct food webs and energy pyramids.
Workshop 7 - Sun and Seasons
Light energy from the Sun is absorbed all over the Earth. In this workshop we will examine how the transformed energy heats the Earth unevenly, causing seasons.
Workshop 8 - Wind and Weather
Storms, fronts, and other atmospheric phenomena derive energy from sunlight striking the Earth's surface. In this workshop we will investigate mechanisms that set the air in motion and cause weather.

Copyright (c) 1999 Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory