Previous section
Light and safety in a mine

Teachers' notes, activities and linked resources

Curriculum links:

KS2 Science – Light – reflection; formation of shadows; how light travels

Aims of resource: 

To investigate the concepts of light, reflection, shadows in context

Learning objectives:

Knowledge of light, reflection and how shadows form
Understanding of how light travels
Skills to conduct a scientific investigation involving light

Discussion ideas:

  • What light sources do you have at home?
  • How many different sources of light are there in this room?
  • Why do you think light was so important in the coal mines?
  • What did people use as lights in the mines before safety lamps?
  • How can you try to be safe in the dark? 

Activity ideas:

  • Scientific investigation: Safety lamps
    Using the cut-out safety lamp template (also available in the downloads section) pupils can design and make a safety lamp. 

    This can be presented as a mission to help Sir Humphrey Davy, the inventor of the safety lamp. He has already made a lamp, but the miners say it does not give them enough light.

    Pupils must put a window in the lamp and cover it with material through which light can be seen. They will need: a torch and various transparent materials (eg. cloth, baking paper, cellophane etc) to place over the window of the model lamp. They can then test how well each material works and use the investigation sheet to record their results.

    As an extension activity, they could then write a letter to Sir Humphrey with their findings.

  • Grouping exercise
    Students can use a downloadable worksheet with images of mining safety measures (also available in the downloads section) to decide which objects make their own light and which reflect light.

  • Shadow-drawing worksheet 
    Students can complete this worksheet of a mine at different times of the day, to test their understanding of how shadows are formed. (The worksheet is also available in the downloads section)

Scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.