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content provider: the Nuffield Curriculum Centre
written by the Nuffield Curriculum Centre
This is a collection of more than 50 classroom experiments introducing users to geometric optics and the ray model of light.  Developed for use in high school science classrooms, each experiment focuses on practical applications of ray optics and is supplemented with full instructional procedures, safety guidelines, drawings/photos, and tips for teachers.   Background information accompanies each activity, as well.  

**Note:  Most of the experiments require the use of a ray box or bright lamp, concave and convex lenses, and an optical bench.  Items are readily available at scientific supply houses, with costs ranging from $300 to $1,500, depending upon the capabilities of the item purchased.

This item is part of a much larger collection of physics/astronomy experiments, sponsored by the UK's Institute of Physics and funded by the Nuffield Curriculum Centre.  
SEE RELATED ITEMS BELOW for a link to the full collection.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Curriculum Development
= Laboratory
- Color
- Geometrical Optics
- The Eye
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Curriculum
= Demonstration
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Laboratory
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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Safety Warnings
Safety Gloves Must be worn   Minimal Danger  

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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2006 The Nuffield Foundation
Additional information is available.
activities, color, color spectra, curriculum, electromagnetic spectrum, experiment, hands-on, high school labs, human eye, labs, lenses, light, pinhole, pinhole camera, practical physics, ray model, ray optics, reflection, refraction, visible light
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created May 15, 2009 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 22, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 17, 2007

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Nature and Behavior of Light
Unit Title: Ray Optics -- Reflection and Refraction of Light

A collection of more than 50 hands-on  experiments designed to introduce high school and middle school students to geometric optics, also known as the ray model of light.  Topics include reflection, refraction, pinhole cameras, the human eye, color and the visible spectrum, optical equipment, and ray streaks.  Each lab has background information, safety guidelines, and tips for use in the classroom.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
Nuffield Curriculum Centre, (2006), WWW Document, (http://practicalphysics.org/optics.html).
Nuffield Curriculum Centre, Practical Physics: Optics (2006), <http://practicalphysics.org/optics.html>.
APA Format
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. (2007, October 17). Practical Physics: Optics. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from http://practicalphysics.org/optics.html
Chicago Format
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. Practical Physics: Optics. October 17, 2007. http://practicalphysics.org/optics.html (accessed 27 May 2024).
MLA Format
Nuffield Curriculum Centre. Practical Physics: Optics. 2006. 17 Oct. 2007. Nuffield Curriculum Centre. 27 May 2024 <http://practicalphysics.org/optics.html>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Nuffield Curriculum Centre", Title = {Practical Physics: Optics}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {27 May 2024}, Month = {October 17, 2007}, Year = {2006} }
Refer Export Format

%Q Nuffield Curriculum Centre %T Practical Physics: Optics %D October 17, 2007 %U http://practicalphysics.org/optics.html %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Nuffield Curriculum Centre, %D October 17, 2007 %T Practical Physics: Optics %V 2024 %N 27 May 2024 %8 October 17, 2007 %9 text/html %U http://practicalphysics.org/optics.html

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Practical Physics: Optics:

Is Supplemented By Practical Physics: Ray Box or Lamp?

This item, written by the authors of Practical Physics, gives guidance on the advantages/disadvantages of ray boxes and lamps in conducting classroom experiments on geometric optics.

relation by Caroline Hall

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