Physics KS3 / GCSE: Using light waves to make an image

Reece McCready is an award-winning young photographer who specialises in portraits.

Presenter Jon Chase joins him and his subject, Lola, to see how they use light waves.

As Reece uses his camera and lighting gear, Jon follows exactly what happens to the light waves on their journey from light, to Lola, to camera.

Jon investigates the two sorts of reflection – the kind you get with a mirror, and what happens when light reflects off Lola’s face.

Then he looks at how the lens on Reece's camera gathers the reflected light and focuses it into an image, using refraction.

Finally, he studies how the sensor in the camera turns the light image into an electrical signal that can be saved.

This clip is from the series Wave World.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 3

This could be used to summarise learning about reflection and refraction of light, using a practical real-life context, linking the concepts together to explain how an image is formed.

Pupils could investigate through building and using a pin-hole camera to form an image.

They could use a ray box with a diffraction grid and a convex lens to focus rays of light on a sheet of white paper, or to focus light from an image onto a screen.

Pupils should observe that the image is inverted (upside down and back to front). Pupils could be asked to explain why this happens.

Curriculum Notes

This clips is relevant for teaching Physics at KS3 or KS4 and National 4/5.

This appears in AQA, OCR, EDEXCEL, WJEC GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 5 in Scotland.