Planning Index: Light & Optical Systems | Print |

Grade 8 Science Unit Plan
Unit C - Light and Optical Systems
(Nature of Science Emphasis)

Grade 8 Unit Overview (Alberta)
Our understanding of the world is based largely on what we see-both direcfly, and aided by optical devices that improve and extend our vision. Tools such as the microscope and telescope have helped extend knowledge in a variety of science fields, from the study of cells to stars, to studies of the nature of light itself. In learning about light, students investigate its interactions with different materials and interpret its behavior using a geometric ray model. As students extend their investigations, the wave model of light is introduced and then used in interpreting colour and other electromagnetic phenomena. This knowledge is further applied in interpreting a variety of light-based technologies and envisaging new technologies we may use in the future.

Concepts Covered and Developed through Instruction

  • sources of light
  • contribution of technologies to scientific development
  • reflection
  • transmission and absorption of light
  • refraction
  • electromagnetic spectrum
  • vision and lenses
  • microscopes and telescope
  • images
  • imaging technologies

What do the students already know?

 What do they think light is?
Can they explain how light behaves?
What is medical research?

What must they Learn?

The nature and behaviour of light and technologies that utilize this knowledge


Specific Learner Outcomes

Instructional Focus

Focus 1

Nature of Light and Vision

Investigate the nature of light and vision, and describe the role of invention, explanation and inquiry in developing our current knowledge


- history of 'nature of light'
- microscopes, telescopes,
- light beams and optics

 Timeline (using Inspiration)
Lab Activities

Building models

Focus 2

Behavior of Light

Investigate the transmission of light and describe its behaviour
using a geometric ray model


- reflection
- transmission of light
- absorption of light
- refraction
- materials (
light technologies)

Lab Activities / Demonstrations
Scientific Illustrations

Lab Activities / Demonstrations
Building Models

Focus 3

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Interpret the nature of visible light
- as part of an electromagnetic spectrum
- using the wave model of light


- solar energy forms
infrared, ultraviolet, X-rays, microwaves, radio waves )
- sources of light
natural and artificial )
- UV and infrared
health concerns, technology applications )

Textual / Audio-Visual Resources

Textual / Audio-Visual Resources
( Lab Activities )
Problem Solving Activities

Focus 4

Light and Vision Technologies

Investigate and explain the science of image formation and vision;
and interpret related technologies


- images (real / virtual)
- extending vision
microscopes, telescopes, binoculars, eyeglasses )
- eyes and cameras
- types of eyes
- lasers and night vision
- light technologies
digital cameras, infrared imaging, remote imaging technologies )

Lab Activities
Building Models

Textual / Audio-Visual Resources
Independent Investigations / Research
Textual / Audio-Visual Resourses
Research / Audio-Visual Resources / Demonstrations