Light and Photonics in the Classroom: New Educational Activities E-book Released

The International Year of Light in Europe 2015 Project (LIGHT2015), together with Universe Awareness, releases the e-book 100 educational activities about Light and Photonics. This e-book comprises a list of 100 educational activities about the wonders of light and photonics, curated for the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015).


An important aspect of the IYL 2015 is the educational added value of Light and Photonics to empower teachers and students around the world. Optics and photonics activities get students excited about science, and for teachers these activities are a great way to explain physical concepts through engaging hands-on activities.

The e-book 100 educational activities about Light and Photonics is a freely available resource for teachers to be used all around the world. The list of activities consists of educational activities for children 6 years and older and includes material developed by Opticks4Kids,, the Optical Society, TeachEngineering and Universe Awareness, among others.

All activities have been curated by Silvia Simionato and Pedro Russo from the Universe Awareness Programme (UNAWE) based at Leiden University (the Netherlands) within the framework of The International Year of Light in Europe 2015 Project (LIGHT2015).

You can download the 100 educational activities about Light and Photonics e-book here.

About Universe Awareness

The vision of Universe Awareness (UNAWE) is to use the beauty and grandeur of the Universe to inspire young children, and encourage them to develop an interest in science and technology. The programme also aims to introduce children to the idea of global citizenship and tolerance at a crucial stage of their development – to show them that they are part of an international community. Until the advent of UNAWE, there were no large scale attempts to use astronomy as a tool for inspiring and educating young children. Therefore, while our resources are open to all, the programme is aimed at children aged 4 to 10 years, especially those from underprivileged communities. More information about UNAWE can be found here:

About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). 

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.

About LIGHT2015

LIGHT2015 is a European project funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme of the European Commission. It aims to promote the importance of photonics to young people, entrepreneurs and the general public in all Member States of the EU during the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015).

LIGHT2015 activities will include LIGHTtalks, a series of inspirational events, which will take place throughout the European Union in different cities at different times for the whole duration of the project in order to bring photonics closer to students and entrepreneurs. A specific series of events targeted to local industry and entrepreneurs, will take place during the period 25-28 September 2015 to take advantage of the international “100 Hours / Weekend of Light” of the global IYL 2015 programme.

Another highlight of LIGHT2015 will be a community experiment on smartphone photonics where thousands of participants from throughout the EU will carry out optical measurements of the sky to yield information related to air pollution. To aid teachers and to inspire student, Photonics kits will be distributed to schools around Europe to support the scientific education at secondary schools.

LIGHT2015 Partners include the European Physical Society (EPS), the European Optical Society (EU), the Institute of Photonics Sciences (ICFO), Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI), Universiteit Leiden and EYESTvzw.


Iris Nijman
Universe Awareness Editor

Jorge Rivero González
LIGHT2015 Project Officer

David Lee
LIGHT2015 Coordinator