Familiar words in specialist use
Teaching Guidance for 11-14
Objects, media, sources – all mean something special
Wrong Track: That object over there is shining, so we can see it.
Right Lines: Light comes from the source, and bounces off the object. We see the object when the reflected light enters our eye.
Thinking about the teaching
Teaching and learning about light involves using familiar words in specialist ways. For example:
source means where light comes from;
object means the thing that is being looked at;
medium means the
background through which light travels, whether it be a vacuum, air, water, or glass.
Using these terms allows you to talk in general ways about systems involving light. For example, it doesn't matter whether you are looking at a car, a book or an elephant, you can simply refer to it as the object.
Rather than just dropping these words into your teaching it is worth drawing pupils' attention to their usage.
Make the introduction and utility of technical terms an explicit part of the learning.