How Does A Lighthouse Work?
by Cheryl Blumenbaum

Task: Students will understand how the lights in a lighthouse work by investigating direct and reflected light. Students will also appreciate the necessity of lighthouses for the safety of ships at sea.

Guiding Question: How does a ship sailing off the coast know when there is danger near the shore?

Differentiation: Presentations will offer choice of intelligence.
Groups investigating the mystery light boxes will access different multiple intelligences during the investigation.

Specific Standards: 


The student produces evidence that demonstrates understanding of: Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism, such as the variation of heat and temperature; how light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object or how electrical circuits work.

Materials including technology:
1.  Six Mystery Light Boxes containing resources for investigations  of either direct light, source light, reflected or refracted light. Materials may be a simple experiment, website addresses, video, magazine article or a book with certain pages marked. Each box should also contain a question to get students hooked.
2.  Computers with access to the internet as well as word processing, drawing and presentation software.

Access prior knowledge by having students share what they know about lighthouses. Suggestions: Use a K-W-L chart OR science journal writing listing what they know and what questions they have about lighthouses.
Each student may choose one of the mystery boxes, making groups of 3 or 4.
Groups will investigate a type of light using the resources in their mystery box.
Group will design and produce a presentation to explain the type of light they investigated.
Groups will present their understanding of a type of light to their classmates and their reading buddies.

Demonstrate knowledge of direct light, source light, reflected and refracted. Demonstration can be either oral, visual or dramatic. Self assessment will be made using the following rubric. Teacher assessment will use the same rubric.

Rubric for Asssessing Presentations

Exceeds the Standard
All of Meets the Standard plus:
Explanations may include information from other sources
Presentations show creativity
Oral presentations are interesting, transitions are smooth

Meets the Standard
Presentation is organized, transitions are mostly smooth
Information on type of light is correct and accurate
Explanations are clear and add give understanding to the audience
Voice of speaker is clear and loud
Visual presentation is clear, organized and good use of color