Creative Insight

At my previous we used to have a sceince room. There were a lot of materials there for the teachers to use in their science program. It was great. Unfortunately my new school just doesn’t seem to have the same resources available. Each teacher has his or her own materials but we don’t have a bank of stuff that is easily accessible. Too bad.

Yesterday, I wanted to teach a lesson about the properties of light. I taught this same lesson last year and it was a success. I needed three flashlights and three sheets of acetate. I had the flashights but no acetate. I figured I’d probably be able to get some so I didn’t worry about it too much. Until I realized that I had to teach the lesson today and I still didn’t have the materials.

I went around asking the other teachers if they had any acetate for me to borrow. I needed a sheet of green, red, and blue to colour the light coming from each flashlight. It’s a great lesson and I really wanted to show the class the primary colours of light. Of course, no one had any.

I tried painting an overhead transparency with the three colours but it didn’t work. I tried using a tupperware lid but that also didn’t work. I was running out of ideas and thought I’d have to change my lesson. My class was in gym and I had a prep period. I tried to think of another lesson dealing with the properties of light that I could come up with in the five minutes or so I had left of my planning time. I looked at the class and was disgusted that some people had not cleared off their desks before going to gym. I picked up a student’s blue duotang notebook and threw it to the side. And then it hit me.

I got some creative insight and solved my problem. The lesson would go forward as planned. The solution was in front of me all day. I just didn’t see it.

I quickly turned off the lights. I shone a flashlight through the transluscent blue report cover and it cast a blue light. I was so glad that I had bought the students plastic duotangs colour-coded for each subject. I had blue for science, red for language arts, and green for math. Perfect substitute for acetate.

We did the experiment and the kids really enjoyed it. At the end we make white light by focusing all three coloured beams on one spot. It looked kind of like this.

Cool, eh?

4 responses to “Creative Insight”

  1. Hi Silverfish,

    It’s funny because I had giving up trying to make that experiment work. I often find that happens, when you stop looking for an answer, it will often come. Strange, but true.

  2. Very cool! Yes, supplies can be a problem for science teachers. We have shared supplies but teachers are always borrowing supplies and then not returning them. I probably spend $300 per year our of my own pocket for lab materials.

  3. Hi Ken,

    I too, spend way too much of my own money on the classroom. The sad thing is that I am still paying off my student loans. I don’t have the money to do this.

    So I have cut back and try not to run to the dollar store to get materials for that cool experiment in the book. I scrounge what I can or try something else. But I do still end up buying things here and there (it’s too hard to get away from)