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Capturing Light

Source Institutions

    Science Museum of Minnesota

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Capturing Light

In this activity, learners make a paper cone and use it in a window to measure the length of the shadow over the course of a day. Learners then repeat the same experiment a month later. In another related activity, learners simulate light waves using rope, Slinky, and water. There is also an activity that uses a lamp and a funnel to direct light at a globe to teach about how the amount of light changes with the seasons. This last activity is designed to be done at an exhibit in the Science Museum of Minnesota, but it can be done anywhere with these materials.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 4 weeks

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per student)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Collection
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Sunlight and Color
      • Vibration and Waves
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Light and Optics

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Funding Source:

  • Medtronic Foundation


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