Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: The Science Book of Light


How much does light affect us?  Light is essential to life on Earth and it is constantly moving, even though we can’t see it.  In Neil Ardley’s book The Science Book of Life, students explore a few facts about light and then experiment with the activities in the book.  Activities include shadow play, reflection of light, making a kaleidoscope, optical illusions, and constructing a box camera.

All living things need light to live.  Plants need light to grow.  Without plants, all life on Earth would cease because animals feed on plants or on other animals that feed on plants.

The activities in this book vary in level, so it is appropriate for many elementary grades.  Younger students can begin with learning about shadows and the manipulation of light, while older students may explore something more challenging, such as building a box camera.

Curriculum Connections
This book could be used throughout elementary school to teach various levels about light’s function and properties.  In Virginia, The Science Book of Light can be used in connection with SOL 5.3 where students explore the characteristics of visible light and its behavior.   Students learn about reflection and refraction of light and may use activities in The Science Book of Light such as ‘Seeing Double’ to test or confirm the facts with which they are presented.
Additional Resources

  • Here are directions for students to make their own Sun-Clock.
  • This  activity from The Franklin Institute helps students explore that white light is made of colors.
  • This website from the ProTeacher Community lists the ‘rules of light’ and also links to activities involving bending light, mirrors, and images.

Book: The Science Book of Light
 Neil Ardley
Art Editors:
Anita Ruddel and Peter Bailey
Gulliver Books,  Harcourt Brace & Company
Publication Date:
29 pages

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