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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 2

Language and literacy intention(s) We are learning to use scientific words explaining and demonstrating what they mean.
Opportunities for Key competencies development Thinking
Using Language Symbols & Texts
Relating to Others
Managing Self
Principles and values coherence High Expectations
Learning to Learn

Big Idea - Some materials let more light through than others
At the start of this session the teacher selects one of the silhouette pages from Foggy Foggy Forest to ask the class what clues in the silhouette support their decision as to what the object is.
Students will use the Think Pair Share strategy to generate think time and prepare their justification before sharing to the class.

The teachers introduces the words Transparent, Translucent and Opaque to the class without providing a definition before showing the Sciencedad video clip

Students get an opportunity to discuss their understanding of each of the scientific terms in pairs and between them also think of an object that meets each of the definitions of each term. They then record their definition and example on a piece of paper or a mini whiteboard
The teacher draws the class together and gets the students to form a definition for each scientific term and records the objects identified by the students to match the definition.

Once the students complete the Investigative Activity they can work on their own or in pairs to complete their Transparent, Translucent and Opaque “All Around Us” learning task.
Transparent Translucent Opaque Template (PDF 105KB)
Transparent Translucent Opaque Teacher notes (PDF 160KB)

Investigative Activity


What You Need

  • A light source
  • A wall or screen
  • A collection of transparent objects (things that can be clearly seen through), opaque objects (things that do not allow light through) and translucent objects (things that allow some light through)

What You Do

Give the students a selection of objects to place one by one between the light source and the wall. Students group the objects into 3 groups: 1.opaque (makes a solid shadow) 2. Translucent (a faint shadow) and 3. Transparent (makes no shadow)

What To Look For

Do the students understand that:

  • Opaque objects let no light through and make a solid shadow?
  • Transparent objects let most light through and make no shadow?
  • Translucent objects let some light through but do not make a solid shadow?

Opportunities to explore:

Try objects from your desk. Which of the three groups do they fit? Students locate, sort and explain why the items have been sorted the way they have.

Assessment opportunities by the teacher using the teaching as inquiry framework

Observation of students’ conversations and working in groups

  1. What information about the student’s learning and knowledge have I gained?
  2. What are the implications for my teaching
  3. What are the next learning steps - conceptual understanding, vocabulary, learner needs?

Students’ opportunity to assess their learning

Students are able to orally explain and demonstrate their understanding of a Transparent, Translucent and Opaque by defining the properties of different materials.

Published on: 23 Jan 2011