Gummy Bears and Lasers:

Experiments with Light Absorption, Scattering and Total Internal Reflection

The kit, experiments and videos develop an in-class experiment and discussion on how light interacts with different materials and how those interactions enable fiber optics and lead to different absorption of light by different materials.

The light absorption and reflection effects demonstration is also linked to a medical application of light being actively researched at UHN and the University of Toronto in which light is guided to a tumour with fiber optics and where the light is absorbed the tumour is destroyed.

The lesson is primarily targeted at high school level students, but could also be applied at earlier grades. To obtain a kit with the lasers and other materials for the lesson, please contact Chris McFadden at; alternate contacts are or

Total Internal Refletion

Water Fiber Optics

Lasers on Gummy Bears

Lesson Plan and Handouts

Lesson Plan

Power Point of Lesson

Contents of Kit

Reflection Observations Handout for Class

Gummy Bear Observations Handout for Class


Tutorial 1: Unboxing and Required Materials

Tutorial 2: Total Internal Reflection Demo

Tutorial 3: Fibre Optic Demo

Tutorial 4: Gummy Bears

Acknowledgements and Funding Support

This lesson and all the associated materials were created by Chris McFadden, who is both a high school teacher in the Durham District School Board and a graduate student (and member of the FullMonte team) in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. Funding support was provided by the Ontario Research Foundation. We are thankful to Shawn Brooks of the University of Toronto Schools for facilitating and hosting pilots of the lesson.

Ontario Research Fund