STEM Projects for a Fun Day in the Classroom

February 9, 2022
By Alpec
Learning about lasers means teaching about controlled and refracted light in STEM projects

Learning about light is science made real for many kids and adults. Understanding why the daytime sky is blue but a sunset shows off a rainbow of color, for example, can hook someone on science for life. There are many fun STEM projects with lasers that help teach and demonstrate the principles of fluorescence, spectroscopy, and microscopy.  Take a look at Arbor Scientific. In the disciples of Reflection and Refraction, tools range from classic prisms (excellent refractive properties, beautiful spectra) to Light Wave Interference teaching tools.

One of our favorites is the Laser Viewing Tank. Designed to allow students to see and control light beams, this STEM project makes laser beams visible, demonstrates gradual refraction, and allows students to split a single laser beam with diffraction grating.

Choosing a Laser Pointer for Teaching STEM Projects

As we discussed in our Basics of Laser Pointers article, a laser does not need a lot of power to function optimally in most classroom or lecture settings. In fact, low power works to make the laser invisible until it strikes an opaque surface, like a wall or white board.

No matter what STEM subject you are teaching, red and green are popular laser pointer colors in classroom settings. Well-suited to indoor teaching and demonstrating, red lasers include the Slimline Red Presenter. Set at 650 nm and with a range of 1,500 feet, it is comfortably bright and pinpoint accurate whether the classroom lights are on or off.

Green laser pointers are similarly popular. Even at very low energy output, at 5 mW or less, a green laser pointer is very bright, 30 times brighter than red. The human eye is drawn to it, a neat trick for teachers who need to capture the attention of easily distracted young humans. The Emerald Green Laser Pointer is popular for the rich green color emitted from this slim, pen-sized tool and range of 6,000 feet.

Heck, teachers at the college level (or in larger survey classrooms) have even been known to ping students with their handheld laser pointers as a way to get students to unglue their eyes from their cellphones and focus on the teaching happening in the room!

Why We Like Violet Laser Pointers

Violet, at the far end of the visible spectrum (405 nm), emits a shorter, higher energy beam than red or green laser pointers. Yet violet is energetic enough with a range of 15 to 20 feet that makes it nearly ideal for teaching and demonstrating in a typical classroom setting.  A newer laser color, violet was originally designed for scientific and industrial uses, such as holography, biomedical, fluorescence, and flow cytometry. Plus, we just think they are cool. We like this one.

Are Laser Pointers Safe in the Classroom?

Educators already know that lasers are not toys and should be used only for their intended purpose. We feel the same way. All of Alpec’s lasers are premium laser pointers, built with 100% IR filtration.  IR filtration along with sealed, tamper-proof laser housing ensure a safe laser experience. 

Which Laser Pointer or Laser Presenter is Right for Your STEM Classroom?

Reach out if we can answer any questions about which laser pointers are right for your classroom or STEM projects.