Daylight in a Bottle

Millions of people in developing countries live in small houses with no windows or electricity. Experiment with recyclable materials and various liquids to design an electricity-free way to light homes during the day.

Essential Standards:

3.G.1.3, 4.P.3.2, 4.L.1.3

Major Concepts to be explored:

  • What is the Engineering Design Process?
  • How can a room be illuminated without electricity?
  • How can people with limited resources use engineering to solve problems?

21st Century Skills:

Learners will:

  • Communicate by sharing thoughts, questions, ideas, and solutions
  • Collaborate by working together to reach a goal – putting talent, expertise, and smarts to work
  • Think critically by looking at problems in a new way and linking learning across subjects and disciplines
  • Create, innovate, and invent by trying new approaches when presented with a challenge

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • 1-PS4-B

NGSS Engineering Practices:

  • 1-LS1-1

Goals of the Program/Class:

  1. To introduce students to the Engineering Design Process.
  2. To allow students to gain an understanding of problems in developing countries.

Behavioral Objectives:

  • Work with group to design and test a prototype.
  • Improve design throughout program.
  • Identify the components of an effective daylighting device.

Methods and Activities:

  • A brief introduction will familiarize students with a problem many developing countries are facing: lack of electricity.
  • Students will be introduced to the Engineering Design Process.
  • Students will experiment with refraction through various liquids.
  • Students will design a daylighting device to illuminate a large shadow box.
  • Students will share their observations and use evidence-based reasoning to support their conclusions.

Key Vocabulary:

Daylighting, Illumination, Opacity, Opaque, Refraction, Translucent, Transparent

Set-up needs:

  • Classroom with enough tables and chairs for students to work in groups of 2-3.
  • Access to water.
  • Enough floor space for 1-2 2.5’x5’ shadow boxes.
  • Teaching/presentation space must be accessible via wheeled cart.
  • Approximate set-up and clean-up time – at least 45 minutes before and after program.
  • Program will need to remain set up and secured from students for the entire day if multiple programs are booked.

Call to Book

704.372.6261 x300
  • Grades 3 - 8
  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • $150 first class / $125 each additional class (same class, same day)
  • Maximum 25 students