'Learn and Shine with SPIE' sucessfully started on May 16. More than 30 students from Riga participated in the first activities. The aim of outreach event is to spread the word about light, visual optics and light-based technologies by conducting attractive lessons which include various demonstrations and meaningful hands-on activities all around Latvia in 2019.
|5th graders enjoying the diffraction effect|
Annually, University of Latvia SPIE Chapter’s members invest in STEM education in Latvia by planning and delivering interactive events to children of different ages. This time it was proposed to expand the influence and share good practice with the larger audience by systematic involvement of students. That is how the idea of 'Learn and Shine with SPIE' event was born. The initiative of the University of Latvia SPIE Chapter members is supported by SPIE - the international society for optics and photonics .
The International Day of Light (IDL) seemed to be the perfect day for the event blast off. The IDL is a global initiative that provides an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of light and and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education and sustainable development. It is held on May 16 every year, the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960. 
On IDL, Chapter members Tatjana and Viktorija went to one of Riga schools to deliver the first 'Learn and Shine' lesson to enthusiastic 5th graders. Amazing time was spent together whilst students were discovering new things about light and its perception.
|Exploring properties of light using Optics kits|
|Tasty challenge accepted: Sorting out gummy bears when color filters come into play|
The celebration of IDL was continued with undergraduate students at the University of Latvia . In the seminar, they learnt about the latest developments in light-based technologies and shared their opinion about the potential impact.
'Learn and Shine with SPIE' lessons are designed to raise the awareness of importance of visual optics and meaning of light-based technologies in our lives. Interactive discussions, demonstrations and hands-on activities allow students to experience the optics phenomena themselves, thus, enhancing the storage of gained knowledge in the long-term memory. The lessons will be held in various schools in 2019.