Welcome to Day 1 of Exploring Creation with Hands-on Learning!
Today, we are reading Genesis 1:1-1:5 and exploring the interplay of light and dark on a light table. DIY light tables are easy to make, but a window, flashlight, or lamp could be used to the same effect.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
Going From Darkness to Light
For this activity, we started with the Montessori Silence Game. We sat in the relative darkness of our unlit workroom and tried to feel God’s spirit moving around and within us.
I asked Miss G what God’s spirit felt like, and asked her how it made her feel. I asked her if the darkness was scary with God’s presence (apparently, “yes, but not too bad because Love makes us safe and God loves me”).
Now, you could at this point turn on your overhead lights and do one of the below activities for exploring light and dark, but I instead chose to use our light table.
Exploring the Interplay of Dark and Light
Many Christians can make the mistake of thinking that “darkness” is bad, and opposite of all of the positive characteristics that we attribute to “light,” but I think it’s important to reflect on scripture and see that God had the potential to abolish “darkness” when he created light, but instead he kept them both and made them compliment each other.
So, darkness compliments light. There can only be light if there is also darkness, and God is still present in the darkness. Unfortunately, people often choose to act poorly in the darkness (whether that be literal darkness or personal darkness) and that is why it has come to have the associations that it currently conveys.
We decided to do a science-twist for our activity, experimenting with light absorption and transparency by providing a variety of black or light coloured materials and observe how they interacted with the light from the light table.
“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:5
“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
Materials we used for our light absorption science experiment included:
- black felt
- black construction paper
- black play dough
- white felt
- white construction paper
- white play dough
- plain water
- water dyed black with a tad of food colouring
Light and Dark Absorption Experiment
We used the scientific method to conduct our experiment.
- Do you think that the light will shine through these materials? Will it shine through the light more than the dark?
- Our background research was reading the above scriptures and then playing with the materials before putting them on the light table.
- Miss G suggested that the light would come through all of the materials since we had just discussed “there is light in the darkness.”
- Next – we played! We draped fabric and observed the changes when the light was switched, and repeated this for the water, construction paper, and play dough — smooshing the play dough was fun and a great sensory experience, as was interacting with all of the different materials.
- I took pictures as we went to help “record” our data. After we were done with the play dough, we looked through the pictures together and recalled which materials allowed light to pass through and which didn’t.
- This is when I introduced the concept of “absorption” and “transparency” to Miss G. Light can be either absorbed by a material (where it is used as energy) or transmitted, where it shines through the object. (There is also reflection, but we left that for another day.)
You can take this experiment and give it a metaphorical twist in a couple of different ways.
I went with “God is always there, even in the darkness, even when we can’t see Him,” but another interpretation could be “God works within the darkness, so hard that we might not always see Him there.”
What interpretations would you give to this activity?
P.S., as always here are some free scripture printables to help support this activity:
To follow our Creation series, click the graphic below.