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In the limelight

  • Key Stage 3
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Case study
Topic: Light

Students become lighting experts, who are designing a set for the ‘The International Music Awards.’ It is based on the real work of the British design agency Universal Everything for the MTV awards show. This activity looks at practical applications of colour mixing and shows students various career routes in the industry.

Get involved: Bespoke STEM careers CPD workshops are available in school – please contact the STEM Careers project at: [email protected]

Published: 14th April 2010
Reviews & Comments: 1

Learning objectives

- practice using ideas about energy transfer in context
- understand how colours add together.

Try the activity

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KS3 National Curriculum

Key Processes: Communication
2.3 (a) Use appropriate methods, including ICT, to communicate scientific information and contribute to presentations and discussions about scientific issues.

Range and content
3.1 Energy, electricity and forces
(a) (light) energy can be transferred usefully, stored, or dissipated, but cannot be created or destroyed

Running the activity

Teacher led colour mixing demonstration. Pupils are challenged to re-apply their knowledge of colour mixing and heat transfer in liquids in a new context.
Pupils take the role of technical support for stage lighting at an International Music Award Show. They are asked a number of questions by James in charge of stage direction.
Introducing the task
Pupils are given pages 1 and 2 of the activity.
It would be good at this stage to set things in context, to show the online streamed video from Universal Everything.
Following viewing the clip pupils discuss the task in hand with their teacher.
There are two routes to investigating colour mixing. [Allow 20-30 minutes for either teacher led demonstration or pupil investigation].
· Pupils investigate colour mixing using light boxes and coloured filters in pairs or small groups.
· The activity also offers the opportunity for a teacher led demonstration. Excellent guidance on all aspects of running such a demonstration is offered on the Nuffield Foundations Practical Physics website
As part of the teacher demo or their own investigations pupils work through the activities on pages 3 and 4 related to colour mixing.
Pages 5 and 6 offer a separate activity that can be used as an assessment of learning activity in pupils reapplying their knowledge of heat transfer to a glitter tower scenario. The glitter tower works on the same principles of a lava lamp.

News links

Kate hall, a lighting engineer
This describes Kate's work in a theatre.
Do a search for lighting designer - you get 2 job families: Lighting Technician and Set Designer - both have links to other associated careers.

Media links

WIll the lighting designer
Watch the clip to find out how much he earns and how he got to be a lighting designer.
Neil, a lighting technician
Watch the clip to find out about this career.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

In the limelight review

Sep 8th, 2015

4 Star

You have good resources and interesting activities on upd8. It would be better if youcan include more of them.

Reviewer: Arunthathi Ajith

The upd8 store
200 lessons and assessments from as little as £4.95

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