At Portland Waldorf High School - Taught by Mr. Miller - 2007

R e s o u r c e s
Java Experiment:
Teacher Notes:
Teacher Notes:

R e a d i n g s
Textbook Chapters:
Physics Today Article:
NewScientist Article:
Web Article:
Web Article:


H o m e w o r k
Monday, Nov. 26
Book Check TBA (during second week of block)
Tuesday, Nov. 27
  • MLB: Add to Optical Illusions entry based on in-class discussion
  • MLB: Light and Dark experience
  • Look at optical illusions (above) if you haven't already.
Book Check
Wednesday, Nov. 28
  • MLB: Add to "Light and Dark" entry (or separately): Qualities of Light, and Types of Objects
  • Worksheet: Shadow Observation - Finish answering all 4 questions
Book Check


Thursday, Nov. 29
Book Check
Friday, Nov. 30
  • MLB: Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • MLB: Finish "Shadow Observation"
  • Think about "Bulging Shadows"
Book Check
Monday, Dec. 3
Book Check
Tuesday, Dec. 4
  • --Catch up on all previous MLB entries; a book check will occur on Friday, as well as a short quiz--
Book Check on FRIDAY
Wednesday, Dec. 5
  • MLB: Mirror Images
  • Use this sheet to help your observations, and use this page to help for your writeup on telling distance to objects.
Book Check on FRIDAY
Thursday, Dec. 6
  • MLB: Properties of Mirrors (red cups demo and analysis)
  • QUIZ and MLB Check Tomorrow
You should have fully completed all MLB entries at the very least through "Bulging Shadows"
Friday, Dec. 7
  • MLB: Start writing up your observations for the Fishtank Lab.
  • MLB: Start catching up with your other entries. Remember, no late work accepted!
Monday, Dec. 10
  • MLB: Poem about light
  • MLB: Continue with observations for Fishtank Lab.
Tuesday, Dec. 11
  • MLB: Procedure and new observations and data for Fishtank Lab.
Wednesday, Dec. 12
  • MLB: Fishtank Lab - Derivation of Snell's Law <Teacher notes: version 1, and version 2>
  • MLB: Three Cases of Snell's Law
Thursday, Dec. 13
  • MLB: The Critical Angle and Total Internal Reflection <Teacher notes: page 1, page 2, page 3>
Friday, Dec. 14
Monday, Dec. 17
  • MLB: EXTRA CREDIT: Image Formation in Lenses <Wikipedia - scroll down to "Imaging Properties">
  • MLB: The Eye <Teacher's notes>
MLB due Thursday
Tuesday, Dec. 18
  • MLB: The Eye - Add bit about corrective lenses (glasses/contacts)
  • MLB: EXTRA CREDIT: Newton and Goethe: Color Experiments
MLB due Thursday
Wednesday, Dec. 19
  • MLB: Finish whatever you have left.
  • Remember, no late books!!!
MLB due Tomorrow
Thursday, Dec. 20
  • No Homework - Christmas Break!!!
  • Happy Holidays!


Main Lesson Book Entries
  1. Cover Page
    • With a suitably made drawing made by you directly related to the content of the block
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Your poem about light
  4. Optical "Illusions"
    • Necker Cube experience - Description and picture, include the successive erasing of the percept and corresponding increase in our own activity (imagination/concept). Include also a note of the 'switching' that occurs to make one of the faces the forward face.
    • "Cow" experience - Description of the experience and discussion of percept, concept, and knowing (before, "the moment" and after) - include list of descriptors
    • What is illusory about optical illusions? - Discuss the two ways of thinking about illusions:
    • 1: Illusions show that our senses are not reliable and give faulty information - there is an 'objective' reality that is more primary than what our qualitative and subjective senses tell us.
    • 2: Illusions are an experience like any other - we just don't quite know how the whole process works; it arises because of a disconnect between percept and concept (we lack the proper concepts to connect to our percepts). In this case we as humans are the 'measuring instrument' and must train ourselves to perceive and think more clearly
  5. Light and Dark
    • Explain the experiment
    • Describe your experience
    • List/Discussion of qualities of light and dark (compare/contrast)
    • Discuss the qualities of light itself- moves in straight line, invisible, etc.
    • Discuss the types of objects with resepct to light (self-dark to self-light)
  6. On the Nature of Light: Electromagnetism and Light
    • Discuss light and its connection to electromagnetic waves.
    • Accelerating charges produce a changing electric field, which produces a changing magnetic field, which produces a changing electric field... and so forth. This sets up a propogating wave, which, if it has a high enough frequency, is visible as light.
    • Add the page about the Electromagnetic Spectrum
  7. Shadow Observation
    • Describe your own initial observations and include your data chart.
    • Include also the class' observations as a whole.
    • Describe how we resolved the disparity between the way people observed the change in the shadow - i.e. put our eyes in the place of the shadow and the screen.
    • Provide an explanation for the 'new' results (where our eye is in the space of the screen) - that is, answer the question: Why does the shadow get lighter?
  8. Bulging Shadows
    • Describe the overall setup and phenomenon with words and a representative picture.
    • Analyse the phenomenon from the 'outer' perspective (as if looking from above) as well as from the perspective of the screen (as if your eye were at important points on the screen), using a series of labeled drawings.
    • Include a written explanation of what makes the bulging shadow occur.
  9. Mirror Reflections
    • Describe the similarties and differences between real objects and their reflected images. What is reflected space like?
    • Describe the variety of ways in which we can determine the distance to objects (whether real or reflected), including:
    • - Accomodation
    • - Convergence
    • - Binocular Parallax (Retinal Image Disparity)
    • - Motion Parallax (Optic Flow)
    • - Pictorial Cues - interposition, shadows, color and darkness, relative size
    • -Kinesthetic sense (no optical, but worth mentioning)
    • Explain how we can determine and compare the distance and size of a mirror image with its tangible counterpart, using the 'behind the mirror' placement of an identical second object, as well as using the 'perspective' technique, whereby multiple perspectives are used and no second object is required.
  10. Properties of Mirrors
    • Describe and draw the red cup demonstration. Note your observations, the two reflections, their relative 'presence' and so forth.
    • Provide an simplified analysis of the situation, with words and a drawing, showing how the red cups demonstration leads us to the principle that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.
  11. Fishtank Lab
    • Using this sheet as a guide, record your observations with words and drawings.
    • Describe the procedure your group came up with that gave you measurements of the lifting effect of the water. Include your actual data, and a drawing or two that represent your setup.
    • Describe how we were able to come to an objective analysis of the 'lifting effect' that accounts for the piercing point of our gaze on the water, the amount of water we are looking through to the image, and the amount of water we are looking through to the actual tangible object. <Teacher notes: version 1, and version 2>
    • Give the details of our analysis that led us to Snell's Law.
    • Define and describe Snell's Law - what does it mean?
    • Define the concept of Optical Density, and give a list of different optical densities (indices of refraction) for different substances.
  12. Three Cases of Snell's Law
    • Explain, with words and drawings, each of the three cases of Snell's Law --> 1: n1=n2, 2: n1>n2, and 3: n1<n2
  13. The Critical Angle and Total Internal Reflection <Teacher notes: page 1, page 2, page 3>
    • Show the derivation of the Critical Angle Formula by solving for theta 1 when theta 2 = 90 degrees.
    • Solve the Critical Angle Formula for n1=water and n2=air.
    • Describe one example of total internal reflection using at least one of the following laser demonstrations:
    • --Laser into stream of falling water
    • --Laser into fishtank angled from below towards surface
    • --Laser into the edge of a pane of glass
    • Explain briefly the concept of fiber optics as it relates to total internal reflection.
  14. Lenses
    • Describe the observations you made with the lens.
    • Note the way that objects in the lens look when you change: 1. the distance between your eye and the lens and 2. the distance between the lense and the object you are looking at through the lens. Notice how these two distances result in different experiences when one, the other, or both change and get longer or shorter.
    • Describe the 'focal point' where a single point from the object expands to fill the entire lens.
    • WIth a drawing, show how to use Snell's Law to discover how the light moves thorugh the lens when the incoming rays are parallel to each other.
  15. Image Formation (EXTRA CREDIT) <Wikipedia - scroll down to "Imaging Properties">
    • With words and a drawing, show how a converging lense creates 1) a real image and 2) a virtual image
    • Describe the procedure that allows one to determine where the image will be for a given lens (with the two lines...)
    • Describe the properties of Real Images vs. Virtual Images
  16. The Eye <Teacher's notes>
    • Briefly describe the major optical components of the eye, including the lens and retina (and ciliary muscles for more credit)
    • With words and drawings, describe the three basic conditions of an eye for both near objects and far objects: 1) normal eye, 2) "long" or myopic eye, and 3) "short" or hyperopic eye.
    • Be sure to clearly describe when and why, in the various cases above, the image on the retina is either in focus or out of focus.
    • Show how diverging and converging lenses are used to correct the focal plane for nearsighted and farsighted conditions.
  17. Newton and Goethe: Color Experiments (EXTRA CREDIT)
    • Describe our recreation of Newton's color experiment, what Newton reported, and what we observed.
    • Describe our recreation of Goethe's color experiemtns, what Goethe saw and what we observed.
    • Relate Goethe's and Newton's styles of observation <handout>
  18. The Contemporary Theory of Light (EXTRA CREDIT)
    • Describe the major features of the contemporary theory of light, including:
    • Light is energy in the form of electromagnetic waves
    • Light has a single, constant speed of 186,000 mi/s or 300,000 km/s
    • Light is described by the frequency of its wave, the wavelength of its wave, the amplitude of its wave, and its constant speed.
    • The color of light is dependent on its frequency.
    • <other interesting or important bits as you remember them>

Email Mr. Miller: spiritself AT gmail DOT com