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written by Eugenia Etkina
supported by the National Science Foundation
This learning cycle features 10 videotaped experiments, organized sequentially for teaching geometric optics in an introductory physics course. It explores reflection, refraction, concavity, convexity, lenses, and the photoelectric effect. Each video includes learning goal, prior knowledge required, and post-activity questions. The instructional method is based on cognitive apprenticeship, in which students focus on scientific process by observing, finding patterns, modeling, predicting, testing, and revising. The materials were designed to mirror the activities of scientists when they construct and apply knowledge.

See Related Materials for links to the full collection by the same authors and for free access to an article explaining the theoretical basis for this instructional method.

Please note that this resource requires Quicktime.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Foundations
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- Learning Theory
= Cognitive Apprenticeship
- Geometrical Optics
= Optical Instruments
= Reflection - Curved Surfaces
= Reflection - Flat Surfaces
= Refraction - Flat Surfaces
= Thin Lens
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Unit of Instruction
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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© 2004 Rutgers University
ISLE, Investigative Science Learning Environment, concave lens, convex lens, geometric optics, mirrors, optics videos, photoelectric, reflection, refractive properties, video clips
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 19, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
January 12, 2012 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 19, 2008

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 3-5: 4D/E6. All materials have certain physical properties, such as strength, hardness, flexibility, durability, resistance to water and fire, and ease of conducting heat.
  • 6-8: 4D/M9. Materials vary in how they respond to electric currents, magnetic forces, and visible light or other electromagnetic waves.
4F. Motion
  • 3-5: 4F/E3. Light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material. Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.
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AIP Format
E. Etkina, (2004), WWW Document, (
E. Etkina, Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Optics, (2004), <>.
APA Format
Etkina, E. (2008, September 19). Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Optics. Retrieved July 29, 2016, from
Chicago Format
Etkina, Eugenia. Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Optics. September 19, 2008. (accessed 29 July 2016).
MLA Format
Etkina, Eugenia. Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Optics. 2004. 19 Sep. 2008. National Science Foundation. 29 July 2016 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Eugenia Etkina", Title = {Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Optics}, Volume = {2016}, Number = {29 July 2016}, Month = {September 19, 2008}, Year = {2004} }
Refer Export Format

%A Eugenia Etkina
%T Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Optics
%D September 19, 2008
%O video/quicktime

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Etkina, Eugenia
%D September 19, 2008
%T Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Optics
%V 2016
%N 29 July 2016
%8 September 19, 2008
%9 video/quicktime

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The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

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Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Optics:

Is Part Of Rutgers Physics Teaching Technology Resource

A link to the full collection of introductory physics learning cycles by the same authors.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is Based On ISLE: Investigative Science Learning Environment

This is the website for ISLE (Investigative Science Learning Environment), the instructional approach upon which the Rutgers learning cycles for introductory physics are based.

relation by Caroline Hall

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