Wave Model of Light (Principles): Use reflection and refraction to take photos

Wave Model of Light (Principles)
Time to complete course: 17 min.

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About Wave Model of Light (Principles): Use reflection and refraction to take photos Virtual Lab Simulation

Join photographer Nicholas on his expedition to Antarctica to photograph the wildlife. In this simulation, you will learn about the wave-like behaviors of light. When light travels from one medium into another, the rays can reflect off of the surface. Depending on the angle and the media, the light can also refract. The angle of refraction is described by Snell’s law. You will experiment with different media and angles at the optical table to see Snell’s law in action. 

Travel to the Antarctic

Meet photographer Nicholas in the Antarctic who is about to take the perfect photograph of a penguin – or is he? There is a lot of reflective snow and ice in the Antarctic and this will affect how much light Nicholas sees in his finished photographs. Can you help him optimize the settings of his camera? 

Meet Einstein in the lab

To learn more about light, join Albert Einstein in the physics lab. You will have the option to first explore the electromagnetic spectrum and discover the similarities and differences between different types of electromagnetic radiation. Alternatively, you can dive straight in to visible light. 

Experiment with mirrors and glaciers

Learn how light is reflected and refracted when traveling from one medium to another. What happens to light when it hits a mirror? And how about an Antarctic glacier? Together with Albert Einstein, you will set up your own optical table with a laser, mirrors and glacier samples and discover what happens to a laser beam when it hits these media.

Optimize the camera settings

Now that you are an expert in reflection and refraction, you understand why Nicholas’ photo looked the way it did. Help him to get the optimal amount of light into his camera and capture that perfect picture!

Get Started Now

Visit Antarctica to take the perfect picture of a penguin! You will get help from Albert Einstein, who will teach you how reflection and refraction of light affect the photos you take among the snow and ice.

Techniques in Lab

  • Optical table

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to…

  • Understand the wave/particle duality of light and how it explains the different features of electromagnetic radiation
  • Apply the law of reflection and refraction to predict how light interacts with interfaces

Simulation Features

Length – 17 minutes
Languages – English, Spanish

Examples of Related Standards


Physics and Engineering related 1st year


HS-PS4-3, HS-PS4-4, HS-PS4-5


4.4 Wave behaviour


10.1 Properties of Waves

Screenshots of Wave Model of Light (Principles): Use reflection and refraction to take photos Virtual Lab Simulation


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