Angle of Incidence: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Tiffany Hightower

Tiffany is a certified elementary school teacher. She has a B.A. in English, education certification and a master's degree in education from Central Michigan University.

This lesson will explore a unique angle that scientists call the angle of incidence. Continue reading to learn interesting facts about the angle of incidence, how to measure it, and how you see it in your daily life.

What Are the Lines that Create an Angle of Incidence?

Do you enjoy drawing pictures of the outdoors? Many children like to draw pictures of fun outdoor activities such as other kids playing, a dream house, a beach scene, or a superhero flying through the sky. Typically, most of these outdoor drawings have a beautiful picture of the sun with beautiful rays of light extending from it. These bright rays of light and other sources of rays of light are related to what scientists refer to as the angle of incidence.

When you think about angles in mathematics you probably think about acute, right, and obtuse angles. The right angle, which is shaped like a capital letter 'L,' has as a perpendicular line. A perpendicular line is a line that goes straight up and down at exactly 90 degrees from a surface. Therefore, the vertical line on the top of the capital 'L' is considered to be perpendicular. Let's take a closer look at how a perpendicular line and a ray of light are related to the angle of incidence.

How Does an Angle of Incidence Form?

The angle of incidence involves two lines. One line is a ray of light that comes in contact with a surface. The other line is the perpendicular line that extends straight up from the surface at a 90-degree angle. The ray of light line and the perpendicular line meet at the surface to create the vertex of an angle. The distance of the angle between the ray of light and the perpendicular line is called the angle of incidence.

These two lines create the angle of incidence.

The angle of incidence is labeled with the Greek letter theta, which looks kind of like a big zero with a horizontal line across the middle.

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