Investigating opaque materials

Assessment focuses

AF1, AF2, AF3, AF4, AF5

Context

The pupils had been learning about sources of light, reflectors, how shadows are formed, and what is meant by the term opaque.

The class received a ‘letter from the Queen’ reporting recent burglaries at Buckingham Palace. The letter explained to the pupils how the security guard, Larry, goes to bed during the day to be awake at night, but cannot sleep because his curtains let in the daylight. As a result he keeps falling asleep while at work, preventing him from catching the robbers.

The Queen goes on to ask them for their help in investigating a selection of different materials that would be suitable for curtains to improve Larry’s sleep. The pupils were told that this was a matter of national importance and they would be presenting their results in the form of a television news report.

The pupils were given different samples of materials, analysed them and made some predictions. They carried out tests, using torches and a screen. As a secondary activity, some of the pupils, including Manushree, were asked to comment on the use of multiple layers of material as well as single layers.

After further class discussion, the pupils worked in mixed-ability pairs, using a question and answer template to prepare and make the presentations.

The evidence

Pupil's completed worksheet for an activity to investigate opaque materials, with teacher's marking.
The date 'Monday 26th Jauary 2009' has been written across the top of the page, followed by 'L.o. To investigate which materials are opaque'. The worksheet says 'Skeletons Name:' and 'Date:' which has been filled in with 'Chyna' and '26.1.09' respectively. The worksheet is titled 'Which Material' and has a picture of a window with curtains around it, drawn back. Below the picture is a four-column, eight-row table. The first column is titled 'Sample', the second 'Prediction is Opaque (tick or cross)', the third 'Result Light Hit Screen (tick or cross)' and 'If Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading (black, very dark, dark, dark grey, light grey, no shadow). The first row reads 'A; cross; cross; no shadow', the second 'B; cross; cross; light grey', the third 'C; tick; tick; black', the fourth 'D; tick; tick; black', the fifth 'E; tick; cross; dark grey', the sixth 'F; tick; tick; dark', the seventh 'G; tick cross; light grey' and the eight 'H; cross; cross; no shadow.' The sentence 'I predict � will be opaque' has been filled in with the letters 'c d e f g'. The table has been ticked. Below is a pretend postcard, addressed to 'HRH, The Queen Buckingham Palace London England' with an imaginary stamp. The text-side of the postcard reads 'Your Majesty The Queen What materials have we been testing?' The letters 'A, b, c, d, e, f, g and H' have been written in. The next question reads 'Which materials were opaque and would be good as curtains?' The letters 'c, d and f' have been written in. The next question reads 'Did this result match your prediction?' and has been filled in with the words 'Yes some of them did.' The letter ends 'Happy sleeping' and has been signed 'Chyna Russell'. The postcard has been ticked.At the top of the page, the child has written 'Monday 26th January 2009. L.O. To know which materials are opaque',  along with their name. Below this, the title Which Material? and an illustration of a window with curtains. Below this, a table of nine rows and four columns. The columns are titled 'Sample', 'Prediction is opaque', 'Result Light Hit Screen' and 'If Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading (black, very dark, dark, dark grey, light grey, no shadow)' In each column is a tick or a cross, which show the following results. Material sample APrediction is opaque: crossResult Light Hit Screen: crossIf Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading: 'no shadow'Material sample BPrediction is opaque: crossResult Light Hit Screen: crossIf Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading: 'light grey'Material sample CPrediction is opaque: tickResult Light Hit Screen: tickIf Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading: 'black'Material sample DPrediction is opaque: tickResult Light Hit Screen: tickIf Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading: 'black'Material sample EPrediction is opaque: tickResult Light Hit Screen: crossIf Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading: 'dark grey'Material sample FPrediction is opaque: tickResult Light Hit Screen: tickIf Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading: 'dark'Material sample GPrediction is opaque: tickResult Light Hit Screen: crossIf Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading: 'light grey'Material sample HPrediction is opaque: crossResult Light Hit Screen: crossIf Light Didn't Hit Screen Colour of Shadow/Light Reading: ' no shadow'The child has completed the statement 'I predict [blank space] will be opaque' with the letters c, d, e, f, and g.The child has answered the question Your Majesty the Queen, What materials have we been testing? with the letters A, b, c, d, e, f, G and H. They have answered 'Which materials were opaque and would be good as curtains? With c, d and f. They have answered 'Did this result match your prediction?' with 'Yes, some of them did. Next to the printed statement 'Happy Sleeping', the child has written their name.In the bottom right of the worksheet, is an illustration of a stamp and an address: HRH, The Queen, Buckingham Palace, London, England.
Pupil's work showing a page of typed questions titled 'Planning my News Report', which has been filled in with handwritten answers.
A page with a series of typed questions and statements. The pupil has written their response in the space provided below each question. Hello and welcome to the six o'clock news. Question What has been happening at the palace? Pupil's response We have had some reports that burglars have been breaking into Buckingham Palace and been stealing The Queen's precious possessions. Questions Why have the burglars not been stopped? Pupil's response The burglars have not been stopp because Larry the Queen security guard has been falling asleep during his night time duty. This has been happening because Larry's curtains let [illegible] through. Question What can be done to help Larry sleep? Pupil's response To help Larry sleep he may have to purchase some new curtains which do not let light through. Question Who has the Queen asked for some help? But surprisingly the Queen have asked Class 3[illegible]B to test different materials and find out which material blocks the sunlight. The pupil has crossed out the words 'blocks the sunlight' and written the words 'are opaque' alongside. Question What test have class 3H beeing doing? Pupil's response Class 3H [illegible] materials and finding out what materials will block the sunlight. Question Which material have they discovered would be best for Larry's curtains? Why? Pupil's response Class 3H [illegible] the materials A to H and found out that C and d are the best because they were Opaque. Question Which would be worst? Pupil's response 3G found that A and H were the worst because they let all the light in. Question Is the Queen happy with these results? (Interview- question and answer) Pupil's response Later on today we are speaking to the Queen and she said she was very happy with the results. Question Is Larry managing to get more sleep with his new curtains? (Interview - qu and ans) Pupil's response Also Larry found out he could sleep much better now tha the curtains are opaque. Question Have there been any more things go missing since Larry has had more sleep? Pupil's response arry said that he has stopped many burglaries since his ok new curtains came. The page concludes with the typed text: 'Good night.'Beneath the title 'Planning my News Report' and the introductory statement 'Hello and welcome to the six o'clock news' is a set of typed questions, which the child has written their answers to.What has been happening at the palace? The pupil's written 'We have had some reports that burglars have been breaking into Buckingham Palace and been stealing the Queen's precious possessions.'Why have burglars not been stopped? The pupil's written 'The burglars have not been [unreadable word] because Larry the Queen's security guard has been falling asleep during his night time duty. This has been happening because Larry's curtains let sunlight through.'What can be done to help Larry sleep? The pupil's written 'To help Larry sleep he may have to purchase some new curtains which do not let light through.'Who has the Queen asked for help? The pupil's written 'But surprisingly the Queen has asked Class 3H to test different materials and find out what material ['blocks the sunlight' is crossed out] are opaque.'What tests have Class 3H been doing? The pupil's written 'Class H tested the materials and finding out what materials will block the sunlight'.Which material have they discovered would be best for Larry's curtains? Why? The pupil's written ' Class H named the materials A to H and found out that C and d are the best because they were opaque.'Which would be the worst? Why? The pupil's written '3H found out that A and H were the worst because they let all of the light in'. Is the Queen happy with these results? (Interview-question and answer) The pupil's written 'Later on today we were speaking to the Queen and she said she was very happy with the results.'Is Larry managing to get more sleep with his new curtains? (Interview – qu and ans) The pupil's written 'so Larry found out he could sleep much better now that the curtains are opaque'.Have there been any more things go missing since Larry has had more sleep? The pupil's written 'Larry said that he has stopped so many burglaries since his new curtains.'The report ends with 'Good night'.

Teacher’s notes

Manushree mentioned how the depth of colour of the shadow changed in the sample of a material.

See the video clip of Manushree and another pupil presenting a news report discussing opaque and transparent materials.

Manushree
Hello and welcome to the 6 o'clock news on Wednesday 28 January.
Child 2
Recently we've had reports Buckingham Palace has been suffering frequent robberies of the Queen's treasure items and possessions.
Manushree
The burglars have not been stopped because Larry, the Queen's security guard, has been falling asleep during his night-time duty.
Child 3
Larry needs to buy some new curtains to not let light through so he can sleep. The Queen, amazingly, asked 3H for some help...
Manushree
...and find out which materials are opaque.
Child 4
3H have tested different materials with a torch in a box to see if it blocks light.
Manushree
Class 3H named the materials A to H and have found out that C and D were the best because they were opaque. Later on today we were speaking to the Queen and she said she was very happy with the results.
Child 3
Larry is getting more sleep, after interviewing him earlier today.
Child 2
This has been the 6 o’clock news, good night.

[End of clip]

Download formats:
pri_app_sci_manush_hppy_lar.mov (9.0 MB) pri_app_sci_manush_hppy_lar.wmv (5.5 MB)

Next steps

  • Comparison of the different uses of opaque and transparent materials, with consideration of other material properties and other factors.
  • Data logging activity to obtain quantitative data for this investigation.

Assessment commentary

Manushree can respond to the problem of light coming in through the bedroom window and makes suggestions on choice of materials for curtains that will solve the problem. She uses a torch, materials and a light box to represent sunlight, curtains and a bedroom. Manushree presents data in a prepared table and makes some use of scientific vocabulary. She shows good observational skills, identifying the depth of colour in the shadow. She describes which were the most and least opaque materials from the selection, although she identifies C and D rather than either D and F or C, D and F as would be suggested by her recorded results. She links opacity to their suitability for effective curtains.