Transparent, Translucent and Opaque

comparing degrees of transparency of materials

Transparent, Translucent and Opaque: This is a poster I made when I was teaching about properties of light. It shows a solid object (the yellow string of yarn) being placed behind different types of paper (transparent, translucent, and opaque). I cut out rectangular samples from different paper sources: clear cellophane packaging for transparent paper, waxed paper for translucent paper, and colored card stock paper for opaque paper.

I love using simple materials to do experiments. Below is a quick activity that students can do to compare the degree of transparency among different types of paper. (As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a commission for purchases using my links. Learn more.)


Use three similar flashlights, and rubber-bands to secure each sheet of paper over the face of the flashlight. Turn of the classroom lights to get the room dark enough, then flick on the flash lights simultaneously to shine at the wall. Your students can try this with other types of paper like tissue papertransparency paper, recycled paper, etc, and sort these types of paper on in a table or sort them in a continuum that goes from transparent to opaque.

I have worksheets like that and other posters to go along with them here in a Properties of light unit. It is available at my TpT collection.

Transparent Translucent Opaque Properties of light posters

Transparent Translucent Opaque Printables Light properties worksheets

This download has worksheets, posters and activities for sorting pictures of different objects into the 3 groups: Transparent, Translucent and Opaque. Definition posters are also included for light terms such as reflection, refraction, lens, concave, convex, and prism.

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This is the digital Transparent, Translucent and Opaque Sorting Activities for Boom Learning. Students can be assigned this activity to be done on tablets or laptops. It is available here at my TpT Boom collection but it is hosted on the Boom Learning platform.

Also, there is now a States of Matter Sorting Activity for Google Classroom which is just like the Boom version.

Have fun! More ideas will be added soon.

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