Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Laser Blox

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Laser Blox

Article excerpt

The set of Laser Blox classroom lasers that I received for review contained:

* Three wavelengths of Laser Blox--three green (532 nm), one red (635 nm), and one violet (405 nm).

* A durable plastic mount that can hold up to three Laser Blox. The mount is backed with industrial-strength suction cups, which allow it to be mounted to a whiteboard and other smooth surfaces.

* A set of acrylic lenses--six large, magnetic demonstration lenses: a plano-concave lens, a biconvex lens, a biconcave lens, a plano-convex lens, an equilateral prism, and a semicircular lens along with a foam-lined storage case.

My high school students and I found Laser Blox to be a unique and safe way to experiment with light. We began our exploration doing some of the free activities available on the website: gummy bears, microscope demonstration, color and light, and measuring the wavelength of light. Wavelength was a subject that I had previously not used with my general curriculum students because of the time needed to collect the data using a hydrogen gas discharge tube.

However, the Laser Blox made it possible for several groups to collect data at the same time, and we completed the lab within our 40-minute time frame with good results. The groups were able to see the beam/path of the light easily on the wall. This made data collection much simpler than when using the discharge tube.

The magnetic feature of the Laser Blox and the lenses is one of my favorite aspects of the set. Because I can stick them on my whiteboard, I can very easily show how light is able to travel and refract. In addition, the suction mount can hold three lasers, which allows them to be positioned in parallel paths without having to hold them in place. Because the lenses are backed with a magnetic backing, I could then attach different lenses to the whiteboard in the path of the light to show how the different lens shapes bent the light into different patterns. …

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