See the Light

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In this three-part activity, learners conduct simple experiments to see how light refracts and reflects, and how colors of light affect what we see. Use these activities together or individually to explore properties of light.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 flashlight
  • 1 mirror
  • construction paper (optional)
  • 1 wide-toothed comb
  • 2 clear bottles or glasses
  • water
  • cooking oil
  • 1 white paper cup
  • red, green, and blue markers
  • strand of brightly colored holiday tree lights
  • 1 pen or pencil


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Ology


  • All rights reserved, American Museum of Natural History,