In this activity, students investigate multiple reflections in a kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscopes work on the principle of multiple reflections. The mirrors reflect the images of objects inside, creating a symmetrical pattern.

When you look at your reflection in one mirror, you see light that has come from your face and bounced off the mirror. When there are two mirrors, you see the light that bounces off one mirror, and also the light that bounces from mirror to mirror before coming back to your eyes.

The closer the mirrors are together, the more reflections-of-reflections you see.

This is a recommended post-visit activity for a field trip to Science World.

Objectives

• Explain that light travels in a straight path.

• Explain how light can be reflected.

Materials

• Per Kaleidoscope

2 flat mirrors
tape
Angle template (could be made by students)

Key Questions

• What happens to the number of images, as the angle between the mirrors becomes smaller?

What To Do

1. Tape the two mirrors together to make a mirror ‘book’.
2. Copy the angle template.
3. Line up the mirrors on the template so the angle between them is 120°. Put the bead between the mirrors. How many beads do you see? (you see 3)
4. Change the angle to 90°. How many beads now? (you see 4)
5. Repeat with 60° (you see 6), 45° (you see 8) and 30° (you see 12, if you can see inside!).

Extensions

• Have students make their own angle templates. Draw a thick line, and put it in the mirror book as shown. With the mirrors at 120°, you should see a triangle. Identify the shapes you see with the mirrors at different angles.

Survivors

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

Egg BB

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

Comet Crisp

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

T-Rex and Baby

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

Buddy the T-Rex

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

Geodessy

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

Science Buddies

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

Western Dinosaur

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.