Curious Minds Learn About Optics and Photonics

Curious Minds Learn About Optics and Photonics

By SUSTC OSA Student Chapter

SUSTC OSA Student Chapter organized interactive lectures about optics for little kids in Jinxiu Elementary School (11 May), SUSTC Experimental 2nd Elementary School (18 May) and Qianhai Harbor Elementary School (20 May). In these three interactive lectures, 16 members from SUSTC OSA Student Chapter attended and organized the interactive lectures and more than 340 elementary kids participated in the lectures. The headmasters of the elementary school, professors and the college president from SUSTC thought highly of the activities and also attended each of the lectures. The activities guided the kid’s thought to optical knowledge embedded in our daily life. Students from SUSTC transferred the optical knowledge into simple and clear expression to make sure little kids could understand. 

Each lecture was divided into two parts and each was 40 minutes. The first part was about teaching and explaining basic knowledge in optics. The first part consisted of a question and answer session where we introduced light phenomena in nature and in life and answered some questions that could be ignored in our daily life. For example, ‘What is lightning and what is the color of lightning?’, ‘How does the rainbow form and why the rainbow is curved’. Some kids even asked some questions that were beyond our expectation, such as ‘Why the sky is blue in the daytime while red in at dusk?’ and ‘What is the weight of the cloud?’. Besides the basic knowledge of optics, we also used beautiful pictures and short movies to explain the principles and applications of three advanced technologies in optics which were Optical Fiber Communications, Laser and Hologram. In the lectures, we rewarded little kids who performed well with postcards and badges which were about “OSA 100 special events”. Our exciting interpretation and interaction with kids made an active learning atmosphere.

The second part consisted of interactive experiments. We elaborately designed five experiments, including Light Reflection, Bending of Light, Polarized Light, Tyndall Effect and Quantum Dots. In each experiment, principles were first explained and experiments were then performed by each group of kids. Almost every student was able to conduct the experiments on their own. In Light Reflection, we let kids put a sucker into a cup of water and let them observe what is the change of the sucker. In Bending of Light, kids observed red laser light propagated through the water flow. In Polarized Light, kids used polarizer and rotated the polarizer to observe the change of brightness. In Tyndall Effect, kids compared the difference between the light in milk and light in pure water. In the last experiment, we creatively introduced Quantum Dots, which are advanced material and still in research, into elementary classroom. The students were amazed with this luminous material and felt the mystery of science and technology.

This activity aimed to promote kids’ interest in light science and expand OSA SUSTC Student Chapter’s influence, as well as increasing interaction between the chapter members and the surrounding areas. The headmasters of the schools were very satisfied with the performance of those kids and OSA members from SUSTC, and they expressed strong will to keep a long cooperation between the schools and SUSTC OSA Student Chapter. More activities will be held in the following years when everything lines up. We would to thank OSA for providing us the Centennial Special Events Grant.

Posted: 16 June 2016 by SUSTC OSA Student Chapter | with 0 comments