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    This unit plan shows how teacher Melissa Coton extended her year 5/6 students’ learning about light by engaging them in learning about light pollution at night.

    Students first learned about light: light waves travel in straight lines, shadows, colours in the visible spectrum and how light waves behave – reflection, refraction and diffraction. They then extended their learning about light to explore light pollution and its impacts.

    To collect scientific data about light pollution in their area, students engaged with the online citizen science project Globe at Night. Although overcast skies meant they weren’t able to gather their own data, as planned, teacher Melissa did get some 3am photos that the students evaluated. They also compared the Globe at Night data with data collected from satellites. A core focus of this part of the unit was developing the science capability ‘Critique evidence’.

    Read more about Melissa’s experiences implementing the unit in this case study.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Activity idea

    This activity gives you step-by-step instructions on how to make a hologram-like projector.

    Related citizen science project

    Loss of the Night is a free, easy-to-use app that helps users locate eight stars that should be visible in the local night sky. App users indicate how well they can see each star. The purpose is to monitor skyglow and light pollution.


    This unit plan was developed by teacher Melissa Coton as part of the Citizen Scientists in the Classroom education research project funded through the Ministry of Education’s Teaching & Learning Research Initiative.

      Published 18 March 2019 Referencing Hub articles