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Optics Magic at Home with Judy & Nancy: REFLECTING ON LIGHT

22 May 2020 13:00 - 14:00

Eastern Time (US & Canada) (UTC - 05:00)

COVID-19 has created a new normal, combining our work and home lives like never before. School closures mean many of us are also entertaining and educating our kids in addition to managing our other obligations. Why not add some optical experiments to your routine? This webinar will explore how light behaves with activities that can be done with materials you can find in your home.

What is Optics?

Optics – or the science of light – is the study of how light behaves and interacts with the world. In these days of COVID-19, optical technologies, from cameras and computers to fiber optic cables, are helping to keep us all connected. We know this also means many families are now working and learning at home. As we approach the International Day of Light on May 16, OSA is pleased to offer this webinar and other optical activities and experiments families can do at home together.


REGISTER NOW: Optics Magic with Judy & Nancy: REFLECTING ON LIGHT

What reflects light? Can you predict the path of reflected light? In this webinar, you will learn more about light and apply what you have learned about the behavior of light to make a rule. This webinar will include two activities you can do at home with materials you can find around your home. These activities are geared towards elementary and middle school students but are fun for kids of all ages.  


Activity 1: What reflects light?

Activity 2: Apply what you have learned to make a rule for reflection (Law of Reflection)

Materials: To fully participate, you’ll want to gather these materials before we begin. 

  1. A flashlight

  2. A CD jewel case lined with a piece of black colored paper. A small mirror will work too.

  3. Five (or more!) objects from around your house to test

  4. A laser pointer or a flashlight with a narrow beam 

  5. A piece of paper with perpendicular lines drawn on that meet at the center.  If you have a protractor, you can use it.

Check out this parent and teachers guide to learn more about the activities Judy and Nancy will be demonstrating during the webinar.


Other Resources

  1. Learn more about the International Day of Light
  2. Visit for more activities, experiments and videos.
  3. Follow our social media channels  to learn more about activities you and your kids can do at home. 
  4. Please visit our COVID-19 Message Center to learn more about our efforts and impacted programs.
  5. Visit PBL Projects for more activities for teachers and families. 


Judy Donnelly

Judy is retired from Three Rivers Community College where she was professor of physics and technology for 36 years and Program Coordinator for the Laser and Fiber Optic Technology associate degree program. She is a senior member and fellow of OSA and SPIE and has served on outreach and education committees of both societies as well as other national and international STEM education initiatives. Judy was awarded the Educator Award by SPIE (2003) and the OSA Esther Hoffman Beller Medal (2012) for outstanding contributions to education in optical science and engineering. Judy enjoys gardening, knitting, baking bread and answering the very difficult science questions asked by her three grandchildren. 




Nancy Magnani

Nancy started her career in engineering as a senior engineer designing and testing high speed fiber optic systems for a telephone operating company.  After relocating to Connecticut, Nancy transitioned to a career in education.  As a Science Specialist/Grant Facilitator for a regional education service center, Nancy provided science professional development to teachers and wrote and facilitated STEM grants programs for 4th grade through high school students throughout eastern Connecticut.  Grant programs included energy, robotics and collaborating with Judy Donnelly on optics and photonics. Nancy currently is with the Sumner School district, Sumner, WA working with middle school science students, facilitates science club and judges STEM Fair projects at the school, district and state levels.  She is a member of National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and a senior member of both OSA and SPIE.




OSA Code of Conduct & Anti-Harassment Policy

It is the policy of The Optical Society that all forms of bullying, cyberbullying, discrimination, and harassment, sexual or otherwise, are prohibited at any OSA or OSA-managed events or activities.  The full text of the policy can be found at OSA monitors comments and questions posted in our digital forums. In order to provide an environment that is conducive to the free and robust exchange of scientific ideas, we reserve the right to suspend or terminate participation for anyone who violates the OSA Code of Conduct.

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