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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Teaching the concept of dispersion by diffraction of light to elementary school students
Author(s): J. Resnick; F. A. Monroy-Ramírez

Paper Abstract

This paper discusses the development and implementation of a practice based on Active Learning Methodology (ALM) with the aim of encouraging students from an early age to be interested in the world of science. The practical proposal is registered in the area of physics, especially in the field of wave optics, since it turns out to be very attractive to all ages especially for children.

This didactic sequence was developed with students from elementary school. The experimental sequence developed is composed by several experimental activities allowing to observe and describe the phenomenon of diffraction scattering, from the entering of light through a piece of compact disc (CD) which acts as a diffraction grating. The distance between the diffraction grating and the screen on which the maximum intensity markers are projected remains constant throughout the practice. Children light up the CD with a red pointer, mark on the screen the position of the different maximum intensity markers, then repeat with the green pointer and finally with blue; from observation and the answer of guiding questions proposed by the teacher, they begin to draw conclusions to diffraction for each wavelength. In this way, the child observes that the maximum intensity markers (diffraction orders) associated with each color are located in different positions. Later, children are enquired about the result of the process when it is repeated with white light. Immediately afterwards, the experiment is tried with white light to check it. Finally, comparing the results observed with pointers in different colors with the result out of the practice with white light, a relevant discussion starts, bringing students to the concept of diffraction scattering.

An important aspect is that the materials used in this experiment represents an important advantage in their application, since they are easily accessible (except for laser pointers in colors that are not very common in some places), so it is a practice affordable to any socioeconomic population besides being very striking to students.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 August 2017
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 10452, 14th Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2017, 104523I (16 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2266538
Show Author Affiliations
J. Resnick, Univ. Nacional de Colombia (Colombia)
F. A. Monroy-Ramírez, Univ. Nacional de Colombia (Colombia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10452:
14th Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2017
Xu Liu; Xi-Cheng Zhang, Editor(s)

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