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The Sundance School - established 1977

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What is LIGHT?


Light is a type of energy that makes it possible for us to see the world around us. 

There are natural light sources like the sun and the moon, lightning, and bioluminescence which is a long word to describe animals and plants that can light up, like fireflies. 


And there are man-made light sources like light bulbs and LEDs that light up your house!


Sources of LIGHT

Light and Shadow:


Light rays enter the eye through the cornea, the clear front “window” of the eye. The cornea bends the light rays so that they can pass through the small black opening in the center of the iris called the pupil. Our eyes need light to be able to function. Our eyes use light to see.


The pupil works like a shutter in a camera getting larger if more light is needed in a dark space, and smaller when light is brighter. 


Watch your pupils change size with this experiment: https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/pupil




Most light comes from heat. Things that are very hot, usually give off light, like a campfire or the flame of a candle. The largest and most important source of light and heat that we have is the Sun.

The sun is the biggest, brightest, and hottest source of light we have. It is also a star. The sun is made of different gases that mix together to cause nuclear reactions. When these reactions occur, it creates a lot of energy in the form of heat and light. Even from so far away, the sun is so bright that it will damage your eyes if you look right at it.

They Might Be Giants - Why Does the Sun Shine?

The moon is also a very bright source of light. It reflects the sun’s light onto the Earth. 

VIDEO: A little more about the moon: https://www.generationgenius.com/videolessons/moon-phases-video-for-kids/


Most lights that we use in our houses and streets come from electricity and light bulbs. Some light bulbs are hot, but others, like LEDs give off light without much heat. They are used in all kinds of lighting and also phones and televisions. 


LIGHT TRAVELS in a STRAIGHT LINE until it can’t...

Light always tries to travel in a straight line for as long as it can. But, when it hits something that it can’t go through, like a wall or a piece of cardboard, the light goes in a different direction. When you turn on a lamp in your room, light rays from the light bulb spread out all over the room and light it up so you can see.


Bill Nye, The Science Guy talks about LIGHT!

How does light reflect and refract?

What is SOUND? 

Sound is a type of energy made by vibrations (very quick shaking back and forth) and soundwaves. When any object vibrates, it causes movement of the air that travels in waves a little bit like the ocean’s waves. When sound waves reach an object they make the object vibrate, too. When sound waves reach our ears, they cause the small internal parts of our ears to vibrate, allowing us to hear.


Hearing is how our brains understand sound. Our ears can take vibrations in the air, and translate them so our brains can understand what we are hearing.

Introduction to Sound: https://www.generationgenius.com/videolessons/introduction-to-sound-video-for-kids/

Read more about it: Biology for Kids: Hearing and the Ear


Bill Nye, the Science Guy Sound Waves

Bill Nye, the Science Guy -SOUND- (long video)


There are three major parts of the ear that help us to hear:


  1. The outer ear - The outer ear is the part of the ear that we can see. It helps us to gather the sounds. It also refers to the ear canal and the eardrum. The eardrum is a thin sheet of skin that vibrates like the top of a drum when the vibrations of a sound hit it.

  2. The middle ear - The middle ear is filled mostly with air and has three little tiny bones in it. They help to amplify, or make the sound louder. 

  3. The inner ear - The inner ear is filled with fluid. It is where the cochlea is. The cochlea is the part of your ear that translates the vibrations into signals that your brain can understand.


Why two ears?

Having two ears helps you to determine the direction of sound. Your brain is smart enough to figure out that if sound hits one ear just before the other and is slightly louder then that's the direction the sound came from. Having an ear on each side of our head also helps us to hear better.


EXPERIMENT: Use a tube from a paper towel roll. Hold it over one ear and ask a friend to clap on both sides of your head, and then somewhere behind your head. It will be hard to tell where the clap comes from when the tube is over your ear because the sound has to travel farther. 


The Frequency of Sound: We can hear sound within a certain frequency range of around 20 Hz on the low end and 20,000 Hz on the high end. Some animals have different ranges. Dolphins, for example, can't hear sounds as low as we can, but can hear high sounds of over 100,000 Hz. Dogs and cats can hear much higher pitched sounds than we can.


Your Ears Help with Balance: Your brain can tell a lot about what you are doing by how the fluid in your ear is moving or whether it is straight or tilted. When you spin really fast and then stop, the fluid takes a few seconds to stop moving. Your brain gets confused for a bit and that might make you feel dizzy.


EXPERIMENT: Spin around two times. Stop. Do you feel a little dizzy? Now you know why.



Check out our Second Graders Sound Projects!

Thunderstorm Sound Effects The kindergarten, first and second graders created a storm in the classroom by experimenting with different sounds.


Rainbow Toast

Here's what you need:

  • 6 or 7 small cups - one for each color of the rainbow. (you'll need 7 if you include indigo!)
  • Q-tips
  • Food coloring
  • 3 -4 tablespoons milk or water
  • White bread


Here's what you do:

1.Put the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet food coloring into the the individual cups. 

2. Add about one teaspoon of milk or water into each cup.

3. Put one Q-tip into each cup and use it stir the food coloring and milk.

4. Lightly toast a piece of white bread

5. Starting with red,  paint the outer arc of the rainbow using the Q-tip as your paintbrush. Continue with orange, yellow, green, blue, and finish with violet on the inner side of the arc. 

And that's how you make RAINBOW TOAST! 












Shadows/ Light Puppet Show

Create a puppet show using socks or your hands. Build the theatre with a sheet and a flashlight or lamp. Your audience will see the shadows.

Create a shadow show using your hands to create an animal. 

Try these or create your own!



 On a sunny day… take a piece of paper, pencil and your favorite toy or animal.  Place the animal next to the paper and trace the shadow that projects onto the paper. Trace the trees or plants that may cast a shadow.


  Cups on a String

 Using two cups, a piece of string and paper clips create a cup telephone.  How long does the string need to be? Does the string need to be tight? Why?

    Water Glass Instruments


This is a fun and noisy experiment! Fill several stemware glasses (no plastic) with water. Use various types of glasses to see what works best. Wet your finger and rub your finger around the rim of the glass. Be sure to hold onto the base of the glass with your other hand and wait to hear the sound. Try and vary the amount of water you place in the glass.

Virtual Concert

World's Weirdest Instruments

String and a Hanger Experiment:


  • Cut a piece of string about 3 feet long.

  • Tie the center of the string to the hook of the hanger.

  • Carefully wrap the ends of the string around your index finger.

  • Now put your hands over the openings of your ears while holding the string.

  • Lean over. Swing the hanger so that it gently taps a door or table.

  • Listen… what do you hear? 

    • Is the sound different on the table from the door? 

    • How does the sound get to your ears?  

    • Would the sound be different if the string were shorter or longer? 

    • What happens when you attach other objects to the string? Does the sound change?

Sprinkles/Salt Bounce

You will need a bowl, plastic wrap, salt and sprinkles. You will create sound waves that make the salt and sprinkles move!

  1. Cut a piece of plastic wrap and stretch it across a bowl as tight as possible. 

  2. Place a small amount of salt on top of the bowl. 

  3. Now get very close to the bowl and hum. Watch the salt bounce on top of the wrap. 

  4. Try the sprinkles. What happens when you put something heavier than salt on top of the bowl?

  5. What happens when you make a louder sound?  

Create a Rainbow!

You will need an old CD, a piece of paper and sunlight. 

  1. Take the CD outside and try to catch the sun on the CD. The CD will create a rainbow. The CD has a reflective surface. It also has evenly spaced grooves that will deflect the light by bending the light to create rainbows.

  2. Using paper that is the size of the CD, cut out a snowflake and attach it to the CD. What happens to the rainbow? What happens to the rainbow when you change the angle of the CD?

Virtual Field Trips

Frozen: Behind the Scenes of Recording the Music Score

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland rehearsals - The Card Scene (The Royal Ballet)

View Sundance’s very own Lord of the Strings - "Doc"!

Suggested APPS


Story Time and Fun Videos!


Arthur - "Arthur's Eyes"

The Hula-Hoopin' Queen read by Oprah Winfrey

The Music in Me

Carnival of The Animals

The Carnival of the Animals is a lighthearted musical composition of fourteen movements by the French composer Camille Saint-Saens. He composed a musical joke for his students when they challenged him to write a piece about animals. Carnival of the Animals is one of the best known pieces of classical music for children. Each animal is introduced with its own humorous musical suite and brought to life by the instruments used and the suites Saint-Seans created for each one. 

Listen carefully to each of the 14 movements.  Close your eyes and see if you can guess which instruments are being played and which animal is being introduced in each movement. Can you hear  the “ROAR!” of the piano and the “HEE-HAW of the violin? It’s also so much fun to move to the music and “become” the animals!