Unit Overview

Students consider how light interacts with different materials as they engineer a lighting system to illuminate hieroglyphs in the dark.

  • Grades 1–5 (Designed for grades 3–5; includes modifications for grades 1–2.)
  • Setting: In school
  • Science connection: Light
  • 5 lessons (8–9 class sessions)

Standards alignment

We’ve developed each EiE unit with careful attention to educational standards in both science and technology/engineering. View Standards Alignments.

Unit Map

Students are introduced to the concepts of engineering and technology. (30–40 min.)
The class reads a storybook in which a boy named Omar living in Egypt explores the field of Optical Engineering and then uses what he knows to save his school’s play performance by designing an improvised lighting system. (90–120 min., 2–3 sessions)
Students observe how different materials reflect, transmit, and absorb light. (60–75 min.)
Students explore how a mirror can reflect light at different angles and observe that there is a pattern to reflection. (130–150 min., 2–3 sessions)
Students follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process to imagine, plan, create, and improve systems to illuminate hieroglyphs inside model tombs. (145–180 min., 3 sessions)

Sample How-to Video

Sample Classroom Video

What's Included?

  • Teacher Guide (PDF)
  • Illustrated Story (PDF)
  • Print Materials (PDF)
  • Additional Resources