Teach kids about light refraction with this fun science experiment for kids.
Also let them watch this video to find out how people use light refraction to light their homes!
How to Make a Sunlight Box:
You’ll need a big box, plastic water bottles, duct tape, scissors, and kids of course! Optional: Paint, Paintbrushes, Food Coloring, Bleach, Foil, Cups that fit over bottles.
Step 1: Let the kids paint the box!
Step 2: Fill the bottles with water.
For more fun add food coloring to some of the bottles. I recommend regular sized bottles; around 16oz. Mine were a little small. (If you are going to keep them for a while then you can put bleach in them, but I would skip it.)
Step 3: Trace
Trace the bottom of the bottles on the top of the box and cut holes. Put tinfoil on the top of the box to help the light reflect into the bottles.
Step 4: Make a Viewing Window
Cut a hole in the side of the box to look inside. I recommend cutting a smaller window or just eye holes.
Step 5: Let the experimenting begin!
Push bottles into holes and have the children take turns looking in the viewing window. My daughter Audrey put her hands over the bottles to create a “light show” and I brought some cups out to make it easier.
The Science behind it:
When light from the sun hits a solid object, like the cup, it is absorbed. When light hits the water in the bottle, it bends in all different directions. It bends because the water makes the light slow down. This is called refraction. The water makes the light spread out in the box. I also gave the example of being by the pool. I told the kids we have to wear lots of sunscreen by the pool because the water makes the light spread out and we can burn easily from the light. You can also show the children what the light does when there are just holes in the top of the box and no water bottle.
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