The Refraction Interactive provides an environment for exploring refraction, Snell's law, and total internal reflection. Learners can modify the angle of incidence, the incident medium in which light travels, and the refractive medium through which light travels. The angles of incidence and refraction can be measured using a protractor that can be toggled on and off and dragged to the point of incidence where the light strikes the boundary. The reflection and/or refraction that occurs at the boundary is displayed; the reflected ray can be hidden if desired.

Launch Interactive

Users are encouraged to open the Interactive and explore. Or if desired, The Physics Classroom has prepared three activities for a more directed experience. The activities were designed with the intent of being used by classroom teachers with their classes.

Our Refraction simulation is now available with two Concept Checkers - one focuses on refraction and the direction of bending; it complements Activity #1 (above). The other focuses on total internal reflection and the critical angle; it complements Activity #3 (above). Do the simulation. Then follow it up with the Concept Checkers:

Learners and Instructors may also be interested in viewing the accompanying Notes page. Technical information, teaching suggestions, and related resources that complement this Interactive are provided on the Notes page. View Notes.