Light: Objects that Absorb, Transmit and/or Reflect Light

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Plant Growth and Changes: Investigating Germination and Growing Conditions for Plants

Science Resource Package: Grade 4


Objects that Absorb, Transmit and/or Reflect Light

New Brunswick Department of Education

August 2010

The Department of Education of New Brunswick gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following groups and individuals toward the development of the New Brunswick Science Resource Package for Grade 4 Light: Objects that Absorb, Transmit and/or Reflect Light

  • The Science Resource Package Development Team:

    • Tracy Thibodeau, School District 18

    • Angela Welch, School District 14

  • Science East:

    • Michael Edwards, Director of Programming

    • Karen Matheson, Director of Education

  • Science Learning Specialists and science teachers of New Brunswick who provided invaluable input and feedback throughout the development and implementation of this document.

Note that at the time of posting, all URLs in this document link to the desired science content. If you observe that changes have been made to site content, please contact Kathy Hildebrand, Science Learning Specialist, at the Department of Education.


Department of Education

Educational Programs and Services

Table of Contents

Light: 1

Objects that Absorb, Transmit and/or Reflect Light 1

Rationale 1

Background Information 3

Prior Knowledge: 3

Common Misconceptions: 3

Did You Know? 3

Instructional Plan 6

 Access Prior Knowledge 6

1st Cycle 7

 2nd Cycle 12

 3rd Cycle 18

Use the video Mirrors at to explore how to use a mirror to write code. 21

 4th Cycle 22

Supporting Class Discussion 26

Materials List 29

Student Version of Outcomes 30

Does light pass through? 31

Seeing the Light 32

Archimedes 33

Observation Chart Sheet 35

Observation Checklist 36

Checklist Sheet 38

Student Record 39


This resource package models current research in effective science instruction and provides an instructional plan for one topic selected from the Grade 4 Atlantic Canada Science Curriculum. This curriculum includes STSE (Science, Technology, Society and Environment) outcomes, Skills outcomes, and Knowledge outcomes – all of which are important for building a deep understanding of science and its place in our world.

As has been true of our ancestors, we all develop “explanations” about what we observe which may or may not be valid. Once ideas are established, they are remarkably tenacious and an alternate explanation rarely causes a shift in thinking. To address these misconceptions or alternate conceptions, students must be challenged with carefully selected experiences and discussion.

A key part of this instructional plan is accessing prior knowledge. It is recorded in a way that it can and will be revisited throughout the topic. The intent is to revise, extend, and/or replace students’ initial ideas with evidence-based knowledge.

Science is not a static body of facts. The process of exploring, revising, extending, and sometimes replacing ideas is central to the nature of science. Think of science as an ongoing evidence-based discussion that began before our time and that will continue after it. Science is often collaborative, and discussion plays a key role. Students’ learning of science should reflect this as much as possible.

The intent of this instructional plan is to encourage a constructivist approach to learning. Students explore an activity, then share, discuss and reflect. The telling of content by the teacher tends to come after, as an extension of the investigation (or experience) explored by the students.

The learning is organized into cycles. The partial conceptions and misconceptions are revisited in each cycle so that students’ ideas will be revised. Each cycle will result in deeper and/or extended learning.

Hands-on activities are part of the instructional plan. Inquiry activities tend to be most structured in the first cycle. The teacher provides the question to investigate and gives a procedure to follow. In subsequent cycles, less structure tends to be given. For example, students may be given a question and asked to develop an experimental plan which they then implement. The goal is to move towards open inquiry in which students generate a testable question, develop an experimental plan using available materials, implement the plan, record relevant observations, and make reasonable conclusions. The included activities are meant to start this journey.

Discussion and written reflections are key parts of the lessons. Discussion (both oral and written) is a vehicle that moves science forward. For example, when scientists publish their evidence and conclusions, other scientists may try to replicate results or investigate the range of conditions for which the conclusion applies. If new evidence contradicts the previous conclusions, adjustments will be required. Similarly, in this instructional plan students first do, then talk, then write about the concept. A section on supporting discussion is included in this resource package.

Assessment tasks are also included in the instructional plan and assess three types of science curricular outcomes: STSE, Skills, and Knowledge. These tasks are meant to be used as tools for letting the teacher and the students know where they are in their learning and what the next steps might be. For example: Has the outcome been met or is more learning required? Should more practice be provided? Is a different activity needed?

When assessment indicates that outcomes have been met, it will provide evidence of achievement. This evidence may be sufficient and further formal testing (paper-pencil tests) may not be required to demonstrate that outcomes have been met.

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