Education outreach resources

Tools to introduce the fascinating and rapidly expanding fields of optics and photonics to our larger global community

Resources available from SPIE

‘Possible through Light’ campaign

Illustrate the power of light and spark interest in diverse optics and photonics career pathways through the compelling narratives of a planet hunter, sci-fi nerd, and student researcher. Hear their stories in their own voices in these International Day of Light videos produced in a collaboration between SPIE, Optica, and IEEE Photonics.

SPIE-curated resources

Computational Imaging Lab
Fun optics demos and activities from UC Berkeley

Deceiving Art: A Guide to Stereograms
How they work and instructions to create your own - includes grade-specific lesson plans

Diffraction Glasses: What's in a Color?
Lesson plan for diffraction grating glasses

Dumpster Optics
Inquiry-based activities illustrating basic optics concepts using inexpensive, commonly found material

Make Your Own 3D Glasses
Free lesson plans, activities, labs, and experiments focused on Light, Lasers, Optics, Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation

Make Your Own 3D Glasses
Simple Wiki-How instructions for making a pair of 3D glasses

NASA Educator Guide
Light and Color activities for grades K-12

Waves, sound, and optics lesson plans

A Kid's Guide to Light
A listing of activities and resources for young people interested in learning about light and adults interested in helping them

Bibliography of Classical Optics
Approximately 1,500 titles, compiled by Douglas Goodman, Polaroid Corp (1980-1993), PDF format 230K

Exciting photonics STEM projects 

Exploring Optics
A hands-on curriculum that teaches about light waves and their associated technical applications

Optics 4 Kids
A website for students, teachers, and parents devoted to everything optics

Photon terrace
A fun website from Hamamatsu to learn about light

Technical applications of light - Infographics explaining photonics

Prismatic Magic
Laser programs to bring to your school

Science, Optics, & You
Free standards-based, interdisciplinary curriculum package for elementary students and teachers to explore light, color, and optics

The Exploratorium Science Snacks
Activity "snacks" about light

Khan Academy: Convex Lenses
Explanation and examples on YouTube

Khan Academy: Concave Lenses
Explanation and examples on YouTube

Khan Academy: Refraction and Snell's Law
Explanation and examples on YouTube

Khan Academy: Refraction in Water
Explanation and examples on YouTube

Khan Academy: Snell's Law Examples 1
Explanation and examples on YouTube

Khan Academy: Total Internal Reflection
Explanation and examples on YouTube

Educational TikToks from Edmund Optics

Light Blox Instructional Video
Free videos hosted on YouTube

The Hubble Site
Spectacular pictures of stars, galaxies, nebulae and more

Jet Propulsion Lab
NASA JPL site with videos, games, and projects about outer space, the solar system, and space exploration

Visions of the Future posters
Nine artists, designers, and illustrators partnered with JPL to design 14 posters all available to download

Look Up to the Stars
Traveling Astronomy

Britannica Kids
Good diagram and simple explanation of a hologram

How to Make a Hologram
Wiki instructions to make a 3-D hologram. It’s easier than you think!

Engineering merit badge

Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education
Research in engineering learning and teaching

Discover Engineering
Information about Engineers Week, self-guided tutorials content, and activities for volunteers and educators

Engineering is Elementary (EiE)
Aims to foster engineering and technological literacy among children

Browse standards based K-12 curriculum modules

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
Science education materials to introduce varied topics related to engineering for health

A Guide to Robotics Technology
Description and history of robotics

What Is Engineering?
Fun video intended to attract high school students to the engineering profession

Design Squad
PBS KIDS website

The Exploratorium
Website of San Francisco's 21st century learning laboratory at Pier 15

GT Labs
Comics that tell true stories about scientists

Integrated Teaching and Learning Program & Laboratory
University of Colorado at Boulder

Kids' Science Challenge
An annual competition for 3rd to 6th graders to submit experiments and problems for REAL scientists and engineers to solve

NASA STEM activities and resources
Teaching materials covering thousands of science, technology, engineering, and math topics

National Science Teachers Association
Website with books and resources for all levels, conference and professional development, and information about the Next Generation Science Standards

USA Science and Engineering Festival
Expos and activities on science and engineering

American Physical Society Educational Resources
Programs like Physicists To-Go, Step Up, and PhysicsQuest to inspire others with physics  

Measurement and calibration training
Courses covering a range of metrology topics

Sally Ride Science
From astrobiology to zoology, Sally Ride Science is all science, all the time

When Things Get Small
Emmy Award-winning video takes a comical look at nanoscience

Engineering Careers
Engineering is a versatile career. Check out the many ways engineers make a difference in our lives.

Photonics Careers
Advice from leaders in the optics and photonics community

Photonics Engineering
A behind-the-scenes look at photonics engineers' day-to-day work

Possible through Light
International Day of Light-themed profiles of three different people making a difference through their work in optics and photonics

Engineer Girl
National Academy of Engineering website designed to bring national attention to the exciting opportunities engineering offers to girls and women

Science Club for Girls
STEM programs for girls from underrepresented communities

Women @ NASA
Resource developed to encourage young women to pursue careers in math, science, and technology