This Little Light of Mine: Understanding Light Bulbs

Warm-up: How Light Bulbs Light Up Our Lives

1.Begin this lesson by discussing with your class the role of electricity and light bulbs in modern life. Ask the following questions:

a) Before the invention of light bulbs, what did people use to create artificial (not from the sun) light? Your students might discuss fire, candles, oil lamps and gas lamps.

b) Why might light bulbs be considered superior to these forms other forms of artificial light? Convenience, brighter light, longer lasting. In what ways could these forms of light be considered superior? Don’t need electricity to function, lower carbon impact.

c) Besides producing light, what else to light bulbs produce? Heat.

d) Can you think of any inventions that use light bulbs primarily for the heat they produce, rather than the light? Incubators, Easy-Bake ovens, etc.

e) Ask the class to list some activities that they engage in that would not be possible without light bulbs of some kind. Watching TV, reading at night, using the computer, driving at night, etc.


Activity One: Types of Light Bulbs

1. Break students into three groups and assign each group one of the following topics: (1) Incandescent Light Bulbs, (2) Fluorescent Light Bulbs, (3) LED Light Bulbs.

2. Provide each group with the information sheet that corresponds to their topic. Reproducible #1—Incandescent Light Bulbs, Reproducible #2—Fluorescent Light Bulbs, Reproducible #3—LED Light Bulbs

3. Have each group read their information sheet. At the end of each information sheet is a set of guided reading questions. Ask students to discuss these questions among their groups and prepare to present their findings to the rest of the class.

4. Students present their findings to the class.

5. Individual Assessment: Pass out Reproducible #4 - Comparing and Contrasting Light Bulbs. Have students complete the worksheet individually.


Activity Two: Building a Flashlight

1. For this activity, break students into lab groups of three to five students. Each lab group will need a set of the materials listed at the beginning of this lesson plan.

2. Provide each group with Reproducible #5: Building a Flashlight: Procedure.

3. After all groups have built their flashlights, provide each student with a copy of Reproducible #6: Building a Flashlight: Reflection and have them complete it individually.



After completing this lesson, students will have an understanding of the various types of light bulbs and how they compare to each other.  They will also have built their own flashlight and will have reflected on the process, purpose and function.