Light, Sound and Waves

Thinking about actions to take: Reflection and Refraction

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

There's a good chance you could improve your teaching if you were to:

Try these

  • linking reflection to the act of seeing all non-luminous objects
  • exploring the phenomenon of refraction through many different examples
  • developing more complex examples on the foundations of an account of the simple phenomena
  • making some real measurements of angles, emphasising skilful practice

Teacher Tip: Work through the Physics Narrative to find these lines of thinking worked out and then look in the Teaching Approaches for some examples of activities.

Avoid these

  • restricting examples of reflection to only, or mostly, shiny surfaces
  • replacing experiences of real and interesting phenomena with a series of ad-hoc memorised rules
  • not showing how an understanding of simple situations is linked to a wide variety of phenomena in the lived-in world

Teacher Tip: These difficulties are distilled from: the research findings; the practice of well-connected teachers with expertise; issues intrinsic to representing the physics well.

is formalised by Law of Reflection
can be exhibited by Progressive Wave
has the special case Total Internal Reflection
Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today