Landforms Lesson Plan
May 7, 2020
Living Things Lesson Plan
May 11, 2020

Light Lesson Plan

Author: Jana Shumway

Year: 2015

Artform: Dance

Subjects: Science

Grade: 6th

Duration: 45 minutes+

Overview: Sixth grade students will dance about the properties of light. They will learn how light travels, what happens when light hits an object, what objects allow light to go through, what makes up the light spectrum, the parts of a light wave, color reflection and bioluminescent animals.

Standards and Objectives

The student will identify and demonstrate movement elements (time, space, energy and motion) in performing dance.

The student will improvise, create, perform, and respond to movement solutions in the art form of dance.
Describe how light can be produced, reflected, refracted, and separated into visible light of various colors.
Through dance improvisation and choreography, sixth grade students will understand how light can be produced, reflected, refracted, and separated into visible light of various colors.




Light travels in a straight pathway. Walk in a straight line until you run into the wall and keep walking in place as if the wall were not there.

186,000 MPS

Spread out on gym floor and dance the following:

  • Reach straight up with both arms
  • Run a figure 8
  • With right hand hold right foot behind you and curve left arm above head
  • Do 3 arm circle shapes - low, medium and high

That movement phrase represents the fact that light travels 186,000 miles per second. (Each movement represents one number). Then dance really fast to a new spot (to represent the fact that light travels really fast) and then repeat the number dance. Repeat dancing fast and do the number dance again a third time.

Light Absorbs

Walk straight to the wall and absorb (or melt) into the wall.

Light Reflects

Walk straight to the wall and reflect (or rebound) off the wall.

Angle of Incidence

Then explain that the angle of incidence is the same as the angle of reflection (ie 45 degrees in = 45 degrees out, etc). So have the students practice walking towards the wall and rebounding off at the same angle as the one they created as they walked in to the wall.

Light Transmits (passes through)

Walk to the wall and keep walking in place as if you could pass through it. Now explain that there are three types of objects that affect the way light transmits: 1) transparent objects (the light travels through the object; 2) translucent objects (only partial light passes through); 3) opaque objects (light cannot pass through the object).


What kind of object allows light to pass through?

Activity: Have a basket of objects. Have the students dance the following ways according to the object you hold up:

  • If the object is transparent (glass, clear plastic bottle) the students run straight through the space with arms piercing forward then pushing open wide to show that the light travels straight through the object.
  • If the object is translucent (bathroom window, tissue paper) the students dance loosely moving their head through the negative space of their arms and/or moving their arms through the negative space of their legs. If the student hits their head or their legs with their arms they need to rebound their arms away from their body. Notice when light hits a translucent object, part of the light travels through the object and part of the light reflects off the object.
  • If the object if opaque (piece of wood, a rock, a body) make strong, powerful shapes that won’t let the light through.
Note: Shadows will form from opaque and translucent objects, but not from transparent objects.

Color Reflection

Now discuss how all the colors of the rainbow get absorbed into an object except for the color of the object. For example yellow reflects off of bananas.

Try the following activity:

  • Half of the students spread out in the room holding a piece of fabric: black / red / orange / yellow / green / blue / indigo / violet / white. They just stand there while holding their fabric open and wide.
  • The other half begins to walk straight lines in the room. When they run into a wall they need to reflect off of it while keeping true to the angle of incidence and the angle of reflection as they rebound. When they run into a person holding a piece of fabric, they need to do the following according to the color of the fabric:
    • Black - absorb (melt down next to the person holding black).
    • Color - reflect off of it if you’re wearing the same color. Absorb if you’re wearing different colors from the color of the fabric.
    • White - all reflect.
  • Play the game until all are absorbed.
  • When all are absorbed, switch who holds the fabric and who walks around the room.

Refraction (or bending of light)

Have the boys line up in the middle of the room and connect hands. Do a wave like motion.

Girls start on one side of the room and walk on an angle towards the boys. They must walk on an angle because light does not refract if it hits straight on at 90 degrees. (This represents the light traveling through the air. Light travels faster through air because it less dense).

Then when the girls get to the boys, they pass through their arms and quickly make bent shapes. Then they continue to walk at a different angle holding the bend shape as they walk. (This represents traveling through water). Note that light travels slower through more dense materials.

Then switch boys and girls.

Another option is to just walk as individuals on an angle (or a diagonal) and when you get to a certain point (the edge of the water) then change directions and walk with a bent shape.



  • Red = longest wavelength, lower energy
  • Violet = shortest wavelength and higher energy

To understand wavelengths, place down either colored tape or colored vinyl dots on the floor. (The vinyl dots are placed on the ends of an imaginary line). Place them in the order of the rainbow and make sure the red is the longest and then the lines get shorter and shorter until the shortest line is violet.

Explain the lengths and energy of each color. Then explain prism (a triangular shaped block). All light rays (white) pass through a prism, and as soon as they exit they divide into the colors of the rainbow (also called a spectrum).

  • Have the whole class start on one end of the room and have 2 students create a triangle shaped tunnel (or prism) in front of them.
  • Turn on some music.
  • Have the class run through the tunnel then spread out onto the different colors of the rainbow and dance on the colored lines. They can choose which line to start on, but then they must move from line to line dancing according to the wavelengths of each color, dancing on every line before they’re done.
  • On the red line they dance slow with long stretches, big steps and low energy.
  • On the violet they take tiny steps and are moving their whole bodies frantic and fast with high energy.
  • On green they just walk at a normal tempo.
  • The other colors are variations of the above movements according to that color’s wavelengths.

Also explain that light goes beyond the rainbow (which is visible light) into light we cannot see with the naked eye. The light spectrum goes in the following order:

  • Gamma Rays (zaps cancer cells)
  • X Rays (shows your bones)
  • Ultraviolet Rays (makes your skin tan)
  • Visible Light (lets you see things) - Infrared (used for night vision)
  • Microwave (cooks food)
  • Radar (tracks airplanes)
  • Radio Waves (carries sound and pictures)

The Light Wave

Stand in a circle and create waves (or ripples). Start with one student who sends the movement around the circle until all the students have done the movement. Do the following movements for the particular parts of the light wave:

  • The Crest:: Use only the upper body and let it ripple upwards while stretching the arms and hands up to the ceiling, then ripple down.
  • The Trough:: Use only the lower body and let the legs kick forward with a ripple motion and back in to standing.
  • The Wavelength:: Note the wavelength includes the crest and the trough. So the first student will use their upper body and do the “crest” movement. Then the next student will do the “trough” movement with their legs. Keep that pattern going to complete the wave. Also you can adjust the length of the wavelength. Step backwards creating a big circle, to create more space between the wavelengths. Step in close, shoulder to shoulder, to create a short wavelength. Try ripples in the big and small circles.
  • The Amplitude: Adjust the height of the movement. Do little tiny crest reaches and little tiny trough movements. Or stretch the movement super high and super low.

Now call out the new vocabulary words “crest” “amplitude” “wavelength” or “trough” to send waves. The students will respond with the appropriate movement. You can add descriptive words like “really tall amplitude” or “very short wavelengths”, etc.




Bioluminescence is light produced by living things. Most bioluminescent animals live in the ocean (plankton, angler fish, comb jellies, seastars, fungus gnats, etc.) but there are some that live on land (like fireflies and railroad worms).

Divide the class into small groups of 4 or 5. Have them pick a bioluminescent animal and choose 5 of their characteristics. For example: The firefly squid produces a blue-white light; has jewel-like organs on it’s body and tentacles; can camouflage itself; is a strong, fast swimmer; it jet-propels itself by pumping water in and out of it’s body; it can travel up to 25 miles per hour; it can travel forwards and backwards.

Using 5 characteristics, have the students create a dance with white fabric in black lights.

Have the students perform their dances for the rest of the class.



The above ideas can be put into one long dance. As you create the dance as a class you will reinforce the concepts of light. Put them in a new order or use only a few of the sections. Have fun and be creative!

Heat, light, and sound are all forms of energy. Heat can be transferred by radiation, conduction and convection. Visible light can be produced, reflected, refracted, and separated into light of various colors. Sound is created by vibration and cannot travel through a vacuum. Pitch is determined by the vibration rate of the sound source.
Adjust the dance as needed for individual student needs.
Vocabulary is defined throughout the lesson.
While the kids are dancing watch to see if they are understanding the concepts. If not, sidecoach them to help them understand.

You can have a discussion or quiz at the end of the lesson; or have the students share what they learned with a partner and then report to another group of students or to you as to what they learned.

They can also demonstrate their understanding through choreographic assignments (but be sure the objectives are clear for the assignment and then make sure they meet those objectives).


  • Colored fabric or scarves for the color reflection game
  • Colored tape or vinyl spots for the rainbow section
  • White material and black lights for the bioluminescence section
  • Resources about bioluminescent animals



  • Transparent (glass, clear water bottle)
  • Translucent (tissue paper, bathroom glass, sheer material)
  • Opaque (wood, rock)