Lifelong Learning Programme

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Title of the Experience
Light and colors
Name of the teacher
Massimo Amato
Country where it took place
School typology
High Secondary School
Thematic Area
Experience typology
Type of contact
Description of the Experience
In physics light is a particular topic that involves some difficulties in the study. The laboratory really helps the students.
I like to introduce the argument trying to make students imagine that Newton was at his home in the country (to escape the plague that was decimating London) and while trying to turn lead into gold was found (discovered) to have many rainbows on the wall of his room because the sun rays pass by the crystal drops of the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling (some students brought in class the chandelier with many drops of plastic to reproduce the experience).
In the laboratory, the use of small prisms of glass or plexiglass manages to convince students that the light breaks up into the colors of the rainbow but does not convince on its wave nature.
To try to capture the attention and to remember the basics of such a great discovery, I prefer that the students, divided into small groups (maximum 2 to 3), as homework, recreate various experiments on the combination of colour, Young's experiment, diffraction and reflection (with green laser) and polarization. Often the experiments were initially difficult in realization, but in the end those who have done the experiment did not forget it (as evidenced by the testimonials of students already graduated from a few years), and the request to refer it to the class make study that is often very good. In addition, the final report allows them to have "lived notes".

Comments on this Teachers Experience

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Date: 2014.10.28

Posted by Maria Dojcanova (Slovakia)

Massimo, I totally agree and I share your thoughts. It is very important for students to have opportunity to see and even better, to have opportunity to make an experiment themselves when teaching Physics. This will increase pupils' motivation and interest in the study of Physics.
I do not have the opportunity to do laboratory works with students very often. It is caused by a limited number of Physics lessons given by state education programs. Therefore, I try to do experiments during my lessons and give students opportunities to try the experiment themselves.
Part of my experiments when teaching optical phenomena:
• dispersion of light – I also use small prisms of glass to observe the phenomenon, evidence of the existence of monochromatic light - glass prism and laser (even students actively brought their laser),
• interference of light - children's bubble blower, animation of digital Physics textbook (formation of maxima and minima of the overlapping of two waves with the same frequency),
• diffraction of light - a laser or slit, double slit (we make cut to the black illuminated film of the camera by using one or 2 razors), demonstrations of digital Physics textbook,
• polarization of light - two polarizing filters, samples of light transmittance ...........
I think that the experiences which you are offering for lessons are possible solution of the lack of motivation, because students are coming across Physics phenomena in real life everyday and they will find it easier to remember and explain.
I wish a lot of energy at work.


Dissemination Seminar in Florence

31 October 2015 The seminar has been held in ITIS “A. Meucci” one of the schools involved within Goerudio project activities. Its main aim was to promote the results of the project toward a broad sample of stakeholders even overcrossing the number of people directly involved in the production of project outcomes. This purpose has been totally achieved especially thanks to the participation of students and teachers coming from different schools or from other classes instead of those ones directly involved within the project activities.