Properties of Light STEM


Properties of Light STEM is a great lesson for students to learn about this crucial element of our world. Students will list and explain the five properties and understand how light transfers energy. This lesson plan is perfect for any science classroom, and your students are sure to enjoy learning about this fascinating topic.

In this lesson, students will work scientifically to investigate what happens to light in various activities. By learning the properties of light, students can better understand how light enables us to see and helps keep everything on the earth alive. This lesson is full of hands-on activities that will spark the light of creativity!

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What our Properties of Light STEM lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Properties of Light STEM teaches students about each of light’s five properties. Students will discover that light transfers energy from place to place. They will also learn that the reason we can see things is that light reflects off of objects and enters the eye. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. Both the activity and practice worksheets require supplies, including aluminum foil, plastic wrap, wax paper, mirrors, cardboard, and flashlights.

Options for Lesson

There are several suggestions in the “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page for additional activities or ideas. One idea is to divide the students into five groups and have each group create a poster showing one of the five properties of light. Each group can then explain their poster and why that property is important. Another suggestion is to add an activity where students will experiment with the “lack of light” using blindfolds. Students will take turns being blindfolded and then try to complete an obstacle course by walking through cones or following a taped line. One more idea is to have students write a story about the day the lights went out on Earth.

Teacher Notes

The paragraph on this page provides a little more information or guidance on what to expect from the lesson. It reminds you that this lesson will students better understand how light keeps everything on Earth alive. You can use the blank lines to record any thoughts or ideas you have as you prepare.


What Is Light?

The Properties of Light STEM lesson plan contains two pages of content. Students will first discover that light is a form of radiant energy that luminous objects emit. Such objects include the sun, a light bulb, or a candle. Without light, nothing on Earth could exist. This is because the sun warms the Earth to the right temperatures so that living organisms can survive. It also provides energy to plants for food.

Lights are comprised of electromagnetic waves, and we can see things because these waves bounce off of objects and hit our eyes. Our eyes then send a signal to our brain, which figures out what we are looking at. This process happens so quickly that we can’t even tell it’s happening at all! And we see colors because of the different frequencies of the electromagnetic waves.

The frequency of a light wave is how much or how little the waves vibrate. Light starts out in an atom. Atoms absorb energy, making the electrons move around. When there is a lot of energy, the electrons start acting wild. The atom releases some of the extra energy as light. And light moves very quickly—at 186,000 miles per second in a straight line. The light from the sun actually takes 8.5 minutes to reach Earth. A light-year describes how far light can travel in one year.

There are five basic laws that describe light. Light travels in a straight line. It reflects off of smooth, shiny, flat surfaces in a regular reflection pattern. It reflects off rough, shiny, uneven surfaces in a diffuse reflection pattern. Light that isn’t reflected is absorbed. And finally, it bends as it passes through water.

Properties of Light

Two of the properties of light are reflection and refraction. Reflections happen when a light wave shines on a surface and bounces off. This is exactly what happens with mirrors. The light hits the shiny surface and bounces back at us, showing a reflection of us. But if the mirror isn’t smooth, the light can bounce back in other directions. This is what we call a diffused reflection.

Students will discover that reflection also controls the colors that we see. Objects reflect some lights and absorb others. Which waves it absorbs or reflects determines the color we see. To see a red apple, the apple must absorb all colors except for red waves, which are the only ones that will bounce back to the eye.

Refraction happens when water bends light waves. Water can bend light because light travels slower through water than it does through air. This is why we see rainbows. The light from the sun shines through the water droplets in the air, and the droplets refract the light. Then the light waves bend inside the droplet and change direction when they come out on the other side.

Visible light is the light that humans can see, but other animals are actually capable of seeing other types of light. Some insects can see ultraviolet rays. Some snakes, fish, and frogs can see infrared light. When light cannot go through an object, that means the object is opaque. Opaque things create a dark area that interrupts the path of the light wave—a shadow. If light can pass through an object, that means that object is transparent.


The Properties of Light STEM lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will help students solidify their grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.


On the activity page is a table with rows of different items listed. In the middle column, students will write what they predict will happen when light encounters each object. They will also guess what color they think the light will be if they think a color change will occur. Then they will go around to each station and test the objects. The right column on the table allows them to record the results from their tests and verify whether or not they were correct.


For the practice worksheet, students will investigate what happens to shadows when a light source moves. They will first choose a puppet or toy and place a desk a few feet from the wall. Next, they will lay a flashlight on the desk and turn it on. Finally, they will place the puppet between the wall and the flashlight. The worksheet lists several questions for them to answer before moving on to the next step. Once they answer those questions, they will move the flashlight to the left side of the desk but keep the puppet where it is. They will then respond to one prompt. Finally, they will move the flashlight to the right side of the and leave the puppet alone. They will respond to the same prompt as they just did and then explain why they think those changes occur when they move the flashlight left and right.


The homework assignment gives students the opportunity to make a rainbow! They will need several supplies—a mirror, a glass of water, a flashlight, and a white wall. They will place the mirror inside the jar of water at an angle. Near the wall, they will shine a flashlight onto the mirror through the side of the jar. Students will describe what they observe and then draw a picture of it. Then they will change the angle of the flashlight and write what they notice happens. Finally, they will answer a prompt that asks what they think is happening based on what they learned about refraction.

Worksheet Answer Keys

The lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice and homework worksheets. All the correct answers are in red to make it easy for you to compare them to students’ responses. Given the nature of some of the prompts, there will be some variation in the answers. Keep that in mind as you grade. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


3rd Grade, 4th Grade



State Educational Standards

NGSS.4-PS4-2, NGSS.PS4.B, NGSS.4-PS3-2

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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Properties of Light

I highly recommend this cause all what I need is here. Easy to follow and use .