Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Refraction

In preparation of some Classical Conversation experiments which covered refraction we did an experiment at home with water and a glow stick. We used the Usborne Science Encyclopedia (which is fabulous and I highly recommend) to understand refraction a bit better. The encyclopedia recommended an experiment with a straw and I thought a thick glow stick would work even better. You can see the light refraction by looking at the glass of water from all sides. Here is the description as provided by the encyclopedia "light rays bouncing off an object in water can make the objects look distorted. This is because the rays are refracted as they pass out of the water into the less dense air." It's difficult for me to explain, but according to the encyclopedia the glow stick "seems to bend in different ways. The unbroken lines in the diagram (sorry, shown in the encyclopedia) show the real path of the light rays looking from above. But the brain assumes they travel straight so it sees the end of the straw at x" which causes the distortion as seen below. Aren't science and the brain absolutely fascinating? I am so glad my girls enjoy experimenting and Reagan has a female role model in her teacher/tutor in Classical Conversations who is an engineer. Girls can do and understand science too! :)
 Both Reagan and Kennedy were a part of this experiment but I can't remember why I only captured pictures of Kennedy. I'm sure no one with kids can understand this, but sometimes you just have a child that is being more cooperative than the others... lol :)

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