Students measure the angles of refraction of laser light traveling through gelatin, then plot their data to calculate the gelatin’s index of refraction.You may choose from two different “Elaborate” activities:

Gelatin Stack: Students formulate a hypothesis and design a simple experiment to test it.

The “Super” in Super Gelatin: Students calculate how the wavelength and speed of light change inside the gelatin.

Materials You Will Need

Per student lab group

  • Wax paper sheet
  • graph paper (1/4 inch ruled with blue ink)
  • protractor
  • scientific calculator (like a TI-30)
  • Laser pointer
  • binder clip big enough to grip the laser pointer and hold down the “on” switch.

To prepare Gelatin for distribution to lab groups

  •  Knox gelatin (8 x 7 ounce envelopes)
  •  desert gelatin with sugar (like Jell-O®) in red (strawberry) and yellow (pineapple).
  •  cookie sheet (1/2 to 3/4 inch deep, smooth and non-stick surface) or brownie pan (8 x 8inches, 2 inches deep).


Super Gelatin — Students

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Super Gelatin — Data Table

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Super Gelatin — Diagrams

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Download PDF (46 KB)
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