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Reflection of Light

  • Introduction
  • Video& Results
  • Materials
  • Procedure
  • Preparation & Notes
  • Download Files
reflect_horiz

When light hits a mirror it is reflected.  Reflection is the change in direction of a wave of light.  The direction of the reflected light depends on the angle the light hits the mirror.  In this activity, the kids will arrange mirrors, adjusting the angle of reflection, to direct a laser beam  from one corner of a box to a target.

reflection angles Text Box: N

 

 

 

Using 3 mirrors to criss-cross the laser pointer
(Dr. Scholl's was used so that the beam could be seen)
criss-cross

 

Materials – Laser MazeClip

  • shoe box with hole at one corner
  • red laser pointer (Education Innovation or Deal Extreme*)
  • large binder clips (2” is stable)
  • small toy blocks like Melissa & Doug's
  • duct tape and cardboard for making maze
  • small mirrors (2”x 4” is a good size)
  • reflection setuppicture of a target
  • Dr. Scholl's Odor Destroyer Sport Spray or dry ice or Diffusion Mist for visualizing the laser beam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Deal Extreme is a good source for inexpensive lasers but orders can take a month or longer to arrive. Check what kind of batteries that the laser will use, as some may be difficult to find in the U.S.

 

 

Procedure

Take mirrors and laser pointer out of the box.  Tell students that the goal of the activity is to arrange the mirrors in such a way that they can shine it through the hole at one end of the box and have the laser pointer at the middle of the target. 

Laser pointers can be mounted using large binder clips. If the pointer is rotated, the clip can keep the laser in the on-state, but use this sparingly as the batteries will not last.laser stand

Have FUN and talk about Reflection of Light.

If you want to see the beam (See Video tab), spraying powder over the setup will cause the beam to reflect off the powder.

hitting target

 

 

Advanced Preparation

  1. Put a target at the diagonally opposite corner of the box from the hole.
  2. Use duct tape to put up a wall inside the shoe box to block a direct line of sight between the hole in one end of the shoe box and the target at the other end.
  3. We attached mirrors to small wooden blocks with 2-sided tape. This way the mirrors were very stable.
  4. We used pieces of cork board to create the walls in the maze.
  5. It's extremely useful to have a stable mount for the laser pointers, so that students can keep the beam steady while adjusting the mirrors AND to keep the beam horizontal.