A photo like this--projecting onto a screen or copied onto a handout--is great for arousing students' curiosity. Why does the straw appear to be broken? Why does it happen at the surface of the water? What does light have to do with it?
Generating questions like these is the first step in engaging students in inquiry-based learning. They give students a reason to explore; a reason for doing the activities that are basis for concept development.
To the right is another photo I took during the same explorations. Can you make the connection between this photo and the one above? What is the concept? Hint: Notice how the beam of light breaks when it enters the water and then again when it leaves.
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