The speed of light is constant in a vacuum—but what about in the everyday world? This collection of 23 computer-animated video shorts examines the behavior of light as it passes through physical substances. Outlining Ptolemy’s law of refraction and the concept of angle of incidence, the program examines light’s motion through air, water, glass, and other media. Snell’s law, highlighting the importance of a refractive index, is explored, along with displacement, deviation, dispersion, and the role of refraction in fiber optics. Lens types including bi-convex, convex meniscus, plano-convex, and concave models are studied, in addition to telescopes, magnifying glasses, and the human eye. (70 minutes)
Conveniently structured in short clip format, this program uses animations, live footage, and examples of relevant formulas to present key concepts about mechanics and light. The mechanics section covers scalars and vectors, equations of motions, projectile and circular motions, Newton’s laws of motion, kinetic and potential energies, energy conservation, collisions, and conservation of momentum. The light section covers wave-particle duality, wave equation, combining light of different colors, reflection in plane and curved mirrors, refraction, convex and concave lenses, polarization, diffraction, interference, and the photoelectric effect. A viewable/printable worksheet is available online. (25 minutes)
This program examines the basic elements of the scientific method: defining and researching the problem, forming a hypothesis, gathering information through experimentation and observation, analyzing the data, forming a conclusion, and communicating the results. Practical applications of the scientific method, such as testing new medicines and analyzing the performance of sporting goods, are included as well. Correlates to the National Science Education Standards developed by the National Academies of Science and Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. A Cambridge Educational Production. (23 minutes)
Color adds beauty to our lives and helps us express our deepest feelings, but what exactly is it? This video lays out the scientific principles at the heart of that question, examining the relationship between light and color, the physical and chemical properties that create it, and the ways in which humans and animals perceive it. Viewers are shown how light can be broken down into component colors—or, more accurately, wavelengths—and are given simple demonstrations that clarify important concepts. These include paint mixing studies, electricity and magnetism experiments, and computerized diagrams that show how various energy wavelengths correspond to specific colors and color ranges. A fascinating introduction to light, its effects, and how it colors our world! (30 minutes
Most of us have experienced the amusement (and possible embarrassment) that goes with standing in front of a distorted funhouse mirror. What many people don’t realize is that convex and concave mirrors are actually quite useful. Beginning with a basic discussion of reflection in flat mirrors, this video shows how curved mirrors are used in a wide variety of industrial and safety-related applications. Viewers learn how convex mirrors are important tools in automobile driving, traffic management, and security due to their outwardly curved surfaces…and likewise, how concave mirrors produce images and how concave reflectors are incorporated into designs for headlights, satellite dishes, solar cookers, and more. The concept of angle of incidence is discussed in detail. As a departure point for more advanced subjects like linear curved reflectors and parabolic reflectors, this is a helpful and entertaining primer. (48 minutes)
What are electromagnetic waves and how was it discovered that light is made of them? How were all the electromagnetic waves (like radio waves) that we can't even see discovered? And how do these electromagnetic waves affect our lives? In this exceptional program, science teacher Spiro Liacos introduces students to waves in general, and then takes a detailed and entertaining look at radio waves, microwaves, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet light, X-rays, and gamma rays. Along the way he surfs, plays guitar and piano, flies a remote controlled helicopter, dives into the ocean, visits the dentist, and spends some time in the tropical sun. This program is a great way to teach students all about electromagnetic waves.
This series allows teachers to teach the topic of Energy without actually using much energy! With a perfect mix of biology, chemistry, and physics, we explore every aspect of energy including what it is and how we measure it.
Without lenses, vast areas of human knowledge, from astronomy to microbiology, would never have developed—not to mention photography and the movies! This video uses compelling animation sequences and other visuals to explain how convex and concave lenses produce images in a wide variety of situations. After a concise overview of refraction, the program illustrates how magnifying glasses work and how projectors cast images onto cinema screens. It then looks, quite literally, into a tuna fish’s eye as a basis for showing how vision works. After further explaining how light travels through concave lenses, the film discusses how corrective eyewear helps people who have vision defects. Viewers are also given a chance to consider aspects of slow motion, fast motion, and stop motion imagery, as well as the mathematics of lenses and image formation. (56 minutes)
This series is a visual treasure trove of demonstrations, animations, and explanations of all things motion! To an extent we are all familiar with motion because we all move and we see movement everywhere, but a detailed knowledge of motion has allowed us to build the wonderful modern world that we live in.
Using exciting live-action demonstrations and easy-to-understand animation, this video delves into the fundamental concepts of reflection and its relationship to light, vision, and the physical world. Topics include: What is reflection? How do mirrors form images? How do they reflect light differently depending on their properties? In what way are mirror images different from two-dimensional photographs? How does our ability to see in three dimensions affect the way we see mirror images? Can animals see things in mirrors? And how do periscopes work? These questions, and many more, are answered in this entertaining and informative program, which includes a variety of optical illusions and magic tricks that incorporate reflection. Viewers will never look into a mirror in the same way again! (45 minutes)
Anyone standing in front of a mirror will instantly recognize the concept of reflection at work, but to observe the process of refraction and to develop an in-depth knowledge of it is quite a different story. This video helps students understand how light behaves when it passes through transparent materials and how refraction plays a role in nature and in human life. With engaging explanations and no-nonsense animation, the program explains the refractive index, incident ray, angle of incidence, refracted ray, angle of refraction, normal line, and what it means for light to turn “toward the normal” or “away from the normal.” Helpful graphics illustrate the velocities at which light travels through a vacuum, air, water, and glass, and how these speeds are used in physics and optics calculations. The topic of total internal reflection is also covered. (56 minutes