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Educational Outreach Resources

The Optical Society of America provides a variety of educational materials for students from elementary school through 12th grade. Many of these resources are available free of charge.

Classroom Materials

NEW! Optical Phenomena Poster Series

OSA has created four, 18x24 full color posters, designed for display in middle and high school science classrooms. Each poster features a striking image highlighting the science of optics and a brief explanation of the optical phenomena behind the image. Additionally, each poster has a downloadable pamphlet featuring a more detailed explanation of the image, easy to implement experiments, definitions of terms and biographies of scientists, engineers and technicians in the field.

OPTICS: Light at Work

This 15 minute DVD is geared toward 12 and 13 year old students, and is a great resource for raising awareness of optical science, along with its applications and many career opportunities. In addition to introductory information about the science of optics, the video highlights real world applications of optical technology, from everyday items like remote controls, cell phones and bar code scanners to space exploration, innovations in solar energy and new frontiers in medicine. A variety of career options are highlighted through clips from a diverse group of scientists currently working in the field. Helpful advice and encouragement to students is included throughout.

Laser Technology: Changing Daily Life, Forging New Opportunities

This 42 minute video traces the fast-paced history of the laser and includes exciting visual depictions of laser applications. Targeted to high school and post-secondary students, the CD focuses on the characteristics of diode, solid-state and gas lasers and the properties that make them useful in a variety of applications including telecommunications, entertainment, biomedicine and the military.

UPDATED! Optics Discovery Kit

The Optics Discovery Kit provides educators with classroom tools and optics lessons. The Kit features 11 experiments that demonstrate basic principles of optics. Components include: lenses, color filters, polarizers, optical fibers, a mirror, a hologram, an anamorphic image and a diffraction grating. Includes teacher and student guides.

Terrific Telescopes Kit

Terrific Telescopes is an education packet based upon the Hands-On Optics (HOO) program. The kit’s activities give students the opportunity to learn about the properties of lenses such as the focal length and the “flippoint”. The lessons and materials also demonstrate how to use a single lens and other household objects as simple magnifiers. Students are encouraged to discover how to combine two lenses together to create a simple refracting telescope. The educator led activities include demonstrations of how light bends, and how lenses are used to create colorful images. A teacher’s guide with step-by-step instructions is included with the kit.

Optics Suitcases

Developed by the OSA Rochester Local Section, the Optics Suitcase is an innovative, interactive presentation package designed to introduce middle school students to a variety of science concepts. The suitcase provides students with packets of materials that can be taken home to show to friends and family members as a reinforcement of the classroom lessons. To view the Suitcase Teaching Guide and to read articles about outreach programs that have successfully used these materials visit: http://www.opticsexcellence.org/SJ_TeamSite/index.html.

For more information about ordering any of these products please contact opticseducation@osa.org.

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