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Letting the Light Through

In this worksheet students are given the opportunity to consolidate and stretch their understanding of opacity and the extent to which shadows form according to the material that the light falls upon.

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Light

Curriculum subtopic:  Shadows

Difficulty level:  

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QUESTION 1 of 10

Light and shadows are inextricably linked - that means that you cannot have a shadow without a source of light. But what about the object that the light is shining on - does the shadow depend upon what that object is made of? If it's see-through, dark-coloured, made of plastic, does that make a difference?

 

In this worksheet you'll have the chance to explore questions like these, putting your understanding to the test and also helping that understanding to grow.

 

Let's see what we can see!

If you shone a torch at several objects to see whether any of them let light through, which of these objects do you think would allow most of the light through?

Tick the ones you agree with.

greaseproof paper

aluminium foil

mirror

clear plastic bottle

printer paper

Which one of these objects will allow NO light through at all?

piece of glass

thin paper

cardboard cereal packet

What name do we give to materials that let NO light through?

opaque

transparent

translucent

Choose the best ending to complete the following sentence:

"Opaque materials form dark shadows because..."

they are dark-coloured

they let no light through

they are made of hard materials

Choose the best ending to complete the following sentence:

"Transparent materials can still make a faint shadow because..."

they are see-through

they reflect some light

they are hard

Which of these objects would be the best one to use to make a clear, dark shadow?

a wooden elephant

a glass bottle

a fishing net

When is a shadow formed?

when the light is turned off

when the path of light is blocked by an object

when light reflects off a shiny surface

  • Question 1

If you shone a torch at several objects to see whether any of them let light through, which of these objects do you think would allow most of the light through?

Tick the ones you agree with.

CORRECT ANSWER
greaseproof paper
clear plastic bottle
EDDIE SAYS
Some objects are made of a material that won't allow light through at all - strangely a mirror is one of them, even though it's made of glass. The backing is an OPAQUE reflective material that allows you to see your image. Greaseproof paper is TRANSLUCENT (meaning that it lets a lot of light through) while a clear plastic bottle is TRANSPARENT, so almost all the light gets through.
  • Question 2

Which one of these objects will allow NO light through at all?

CORRECT ANSWER
cardboard cereal packet
EDDIE SAYS
Cardboard is a much denser material than paper and light cannot get through it. If you hold a piece of thin paper up to the light you can definitely see light coming through the paper - it's TRANSLUCENT.
  • Question 3

What name do we give to materials that let NO light through?

CORRECT ANSWER
opaque
EDDIE SAYS
Transparent objects (like glass) let pretty much all the light through, translucent objects (like thin paper) let some light through while opaque objects (like your table) don't allow any light through them at all.
  • Question 4

Choose the best ending to complete the following sentence:

"Opaque materials form dark shadows because..."

CORRECT ANSWER
they let no light through
EDDIE SAYS
Shadows form when light hits an object and bounces off meaning that there is an area behind the object that gets no light - that's a shadow. Because opaque objects reflect all the light, none gets through and so they form the best shadows.
  • Question 5

Choose the best ending to complete the following sentence:

"Transparent materials can still make a faint shadow because..."

CORRECT ANSWER
they reflect some light
EDDIE SAYS
If transparent objects (like a sheet of glass) reflect some of the light, that light hasn't gone through the object, so there's less light getting through than hits the object. Because of that a faint shadow will appear. Try holding an empty lemonade bottle up to the light (having taken the label off) and see whether you can see a shadow.
  • Question 6

Which of these objects would be the best one to use to make a clear, dark shadow?

CORRECT ANSWER
a wooden elephant
EDDIE SAYS
The wooden elephant is completely opaque, so will form the best shadow. The fishing net has so many holes that lots of light get through so its shadow will be much lighter than the elephant's.
  • Question 7

When is a shadow formed?

CORRECT ANSWER
when the path of light is blocked by an object
EDDIE SAYS
If the light is turned off, there's no light, so no shadow. When light reflects off something, not all of it gets through; but if that object lets some light through then the shadow will be quite faint. When the light is blocked by an object (and all of it bounces off in different directions) then none gets through and a distinct shadow is formed.
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