Fun science: Light and dark

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By John StringerPrimary Advisor at Philip Harris

Tackle the tricky concept of light and dark with these fascinating and inventive activities

Children using mirage

Children discover the wonder of a mirage where light can make things appear magic!

Teaching about light can be difficult, not least because many light activities demand darkness, or low light levels, and because children have so many preconceptions about how light works. As children seldom experience total darkness, they may have trouble understanding basic concepts. It is important to remember that the eye is a receptor of light, not a source of it, and we can see because light is reflected from everything to a greater or lesser extent (best from mirrors, shiny and white surfaces; poorly from black and dark surfaces).

Science educational resource provider, Philip Harris, partnered up with Year 1 and 2 teacher, Helen Woolfenden at Holden Clough Community Primary School in Ashton-under-Lyne, to showcase a selection of experiments aimed at helping children to explore light and dark. The following activities use a range of resources available from Philip Harris that will help make this topic lots of fun.


  1. Reflection challenge
  2. Kaleidoscope wonder
  3. Magic mirage
  4. Light sources
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  1. Nat
    on 12 November 2013

    Thank You

    Great ideas to get started on...looking forward making the kaleidoscopes - the children will love them!

  2. Margaret Dillon
    on 9 February 2010

    Super science ideas

    I think you have added some innovative ideas to tried and tested science activities. It's good the way you have used mirrors in such an interesting way.

    4out of 5