The SPIE Education Committee has developed an outreach program aimed at enhancing the dissemination of information about optics to children in kindergarten through the 12th grade (K-12). The main impetus behind the program was that more practicing optical scientists and engineers would be willing to give lectures and demonstrations aimed at inspiring the next generation about optics if material could be made easily available. Consequently, three instructional `outreach kits' were assembled to use in teaching optics to kids in exciting and fun ways. These kits were beta-tested over the last two years at six different U.S. regional sites. Each `outreach kit' contained: (1) a workbook on Optical Demonstrations on the Overhead Projector; (2) a Science and Math Experience Manual: Light, Color and Their Uses; (3) The Optics Discovery Classroom Kit; (4) a slide show; and (5) a video on careers in optics. The best tests were aimed at evaluating the practical ways of utilizing the kits, developing easy-to-follow instructions for guiding others in their use and providing suggestions on modifications, additions, and deletions to the kits. This paper discuses this outreach program and provides details relative to the kit's composition and future plans.
James W. Bilbro,
Janice M. Gaines Walker,
"Optics education for K-12", Proc. SPIE 3831, Sixth International Conference on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, (16 June 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.388721; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.388721