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International Year of Light: Let’s Celebrate the Science of Light

2015 is the International Year of Light so we thought we would share some educational resources to help children learn more about the science of light…

About the International Year of Light

On 20 December 2013, the UN General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015).

By focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the UN has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society.

IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.

So let’s learn more about light…

BP Educational Service – Light and Pinhole Cameras

BP Educational Service have added some new resources on Light and Pinhole Cameras to help children explore and celebrate the science of light. Here’s what they can learn:

  • how photography works
  • the science behind photography
  • how to build a pinhole camera

Pinhole cameras

Pinhole Photography Competition

Unfortunately, this is restricted to students aged 11 to 14 in the UK.

What you need to do:

Send in your best pinhole pictures and they will be displayed in an online gallery. Each month there will be a £25 Amazon voucher for the best!

To enter, simply email the following to

  • your school name
  • your pinhole camera photos
  • a caption, student name and age for each photo

Bobo and Light – App for the iPad

This is by far one of our favourite apps of all time – Bobo Explores Light:

Learn more about Bobo Explores Light.

STEM Islands: City of Light – App for the iPad

STEM Islands offers a series of apps that allow children to explore various topics in physics in a virtual setting.

Learn more about the STEM Islands.

Light for Kids on Science Kids

Science Kids also offers some really awesome free resources on Light for Kids:

  • Games:
    • Light and Shadows
    • How we see
    • Light sources and reflections
  • Experiments:
    • Light, colour and heat
    • Make a rainbow
    • Bending light
  • Videos:
    • Light bulbs
    • The Sun
    • Lightning strike
  • Images
  • Facts:
    • Light facts
    • Eye facts
    • Closest stars
  • Quizzes:
    • Physics quiz
    • Electricity quiz
    • Physics word scramble
  • Lessons:
    • Camouflage
    • Physics word search
  • Projects:
    • Make a kaleidoscope
    • Physics Science Fair Project Ideas

Light for Kids

Bill Nye on Light

Bill Nye the Science Guy has some cool videos on Light. Check them out…

Light and Optics

Light and Colour

The Magic School Bus

Ms Frizzle and the Magic School Bus also have a thing or two to say about light…

The Magic School Bus Gets a Bright Idea

The Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow

Experiments on Light

What’s science without experiments? The following sites have some awesome science experiments on light that will keep the family busy for hours:

Happy International Year of Light!

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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