One of our very first experiments was exploring one of the characteristics of light. Our Classical Conversations science memory work this week was “What are three characteristics of light?”. One of the terms we covered was refraction. Which is exactly what this super easy experiment demonstrates — you probably have all the necessary items in your house already.
You only need:
A straw (or pencil)
A clear glass
Full printable instructions and simple refraction explanation: Bending a Straw With Light
or here: Pencil Refraction
My kids were amazed that the straw “bent”. Before talking about the science of refraction, I’m pretty sure they believed they’d done it with their minds. They moved the straws around, trying to figure out what on earth was going on. Seeing if various angles produced a more significant bend in the straw.
My son (four years old) did not move. Just stared at the glass. It was amazing.
Depending on the age of your kiddos, I have two different blank scientific method worksheets for your scientists to fill in their findings on. I used this super cute experiment worksheet I got FREE! from Wild About Teaching on Teachers Pay Teachers. It breaks down the scientific method into language even the littlest scientists can follow. I just had the kids color pictures of what they observed.
Scientific Method for Young Learners
Or, if your munchkins are a little older, this breakdown of the scientific method may be more your speed. It lists the scientific method in the traditional language of Purpose, Hypothesis, Materials, Procedure, Results, Conclusion.
Enjoy this quick and easy science lesson!