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Lesson Plan

Light from Chemistry

Investigate different ways that light can be made from chemical reactions
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Chemistry: Atoms, Molecules (3-7)
Chemistry: Chemical Changes (2, 7)
Physics: Light and Sound (1)
Physics: Energy forms, Conservation of Energy (1, 3, 4, 5)

Introduce chemistry if necessary. Chemistry can make light.

Candle activity: light and heat from a chemical reaction.

Move to a dark area e.g. behind the curtains on the stage.
Introduce activities: Some chemistry can make light but no heat. Called luminescence. A molecule is given extra energy, which it lets go of again by giving out light. It can be given the energy in different ways: a chemical reaction, from outside light, or from pressure. The three stations show three kinds of luminescence.
Stations to rotate through: glow sticks (chemiluminescence), luminescent candy (triboluminescence) and fluorescent pens/toys (fluoresence).


Good for Halloween science.
Add a sparkler at the end, and ask students which of the above chemical reactions it is most similar to (candle burning producing light and heat).

Grades taught: 
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Site tested: 
Bayview Elementary Science Club
General Gordon Elementary Science Club
Lesson plan originally developed and delivered: 

Gordon Elementary Science Club