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Where does light come from?

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By Kay CliffordEarly Years Leader and adult tutor

With strong links to the Key Stage 1 science curriculum, this poster offers a basic explanation of where light comes from and how we see plus instructions for making a rainbow.


While there are a few technical words in this text that the children will need support with, the poster can be read during shared reading with Year 1 and 2. Year 2 children could use it independently to find out information.

Shared reading

  • Download the poster and use the IWB torch tool to reveal parts of it. Show headings, a diagram, bullet points, and a photograph. What sort of poster is it? What is it about?
  • What can the children remember about non-fiction texts?
  • Choose a section to read together. Remind the children to use phonics to sound out words.
  • Were any of the words new to them? Discuss one word. Can anyone explain what it means? Start a glossary.
  • Read the other sections through together, adding new words to the glossary as you find them.
  • Ask the children how we can use the text to find the answer to a question – eg, What is the main place light comes from? Model using the headings to find the answer.
  • Note down other questions that can’t be answered using the text. Help the children to answer them by using books or the internet.

Previous learning

Children should: be able to distinguish fiction/non-fiction texts and different purposes for reading them; recognise the features that shape non-fiction texts; recognise automatically an increasing number of familiar HF words.


Collect: non-fiction books about light and colour; prisms; shallow trays for water; mirrors; white paper/card.

Group and guided activities

  • Read the instructions for ‘How to make your own rainbow’. Encourage the children to try this activity independently. Model writing an explanation of what you did and what you discovered.
  • Ask the children to make a colour chart, using the IWB or a basic word processing package, for the Reception or Nursery children to use. Show each colour and write the word next to it, spelled clearly and accurately.
  • Challenge the children to find and list materials that are transparent. They might need to use a torch to investigate this.
  • Ask the children to look closely at their eyes using a mirror, then to draw and label the parts of their eye. Can they use non-fiction books to discover what the coloured part of their eye is called?

Using the activity sheet

Use the activity sheet to create a mind map of sources of light. Help the children to understand that light comes from different sources – natural, fire, electricity (mains and battery), reflective.

Key learning outcomes:

  • To read more challenging texts which can be decoded using acquired phonic knowledge and skills, along with automatic recognition of HF words;
  • To recognise the main elements that shape different texts;
  • To listen with sustained concentration, building new stores of words in different contexts.


Would some of your children find these activities too difficult or too easy? You can download a chart below, showing how to differentiate all of these activities.


Read some of the children’s questions and model how to use other non-fiction books to find the answers.


  1. taliah mulitalo
    on 10 July 2013

    all about light

    i like light because it helps us with things like when its its dark we have a light to help us see and when you need to look at night if some thing happend you can always use a torch, light up the roof and a light on your phone there is always something about light or some thing that you could use as light to see any thing.

  2. karla
    on 10 July 2013


    we should have light because it helps us see i love light do u light is very bright thats why we should have and us light

  3. Leano tosca
    on 27 March 2012

    needs improvement

    Dull and uninformative.the website design is so boring that i got tired just looking at it, my question is: was this website created for people who lack creativity. isn’t the point of educational material to spark interest?

    1out of 5