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Science Lessons You Can Teach With Mirrors

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Each year, as the school days wind down, teachers can be reaching for end-of-the-year lesson plans to provide fun and educational instruction for their kids. One of the best ways to get children interacting is with science experiments, as they are hands on.

Many kids learn by doing, and not by seeing, so these experiments are an easy and safe way to keep your students interested, and learning for the rest of the year. See below for some great lessons that can be taught with everyday mirrors.

Lessons in Reflection. Using a large oval mirror on the wall, and a smaller oval mirror that can be held, have the children face the two mirrors towards each other to explore what happens. What this teaches:

●Mirrors work by having light bounce off of them and reflect into your eyes

●When you have two mirrors facing each other, light is bouncing from one mirror to another, causing a reflection of a reflection, and so on.

●You’ll see the same image over and over

Reverse letters: Have the children write a message on a white piece of paper, and then hold the message up to a round wall mirror to see how the letters are flipped. Ask them what letters look different, and which letters look the same, such as “O” and “X.”

What this teaches:

●Lessons in symmetry at which letters look the same forwards and flipped

●Humans are mostly symmetrical, so their reflection does not look strange, but asymmetrical objects like some letters will appear flipped backward.

Lessons in homemade rainbows: Using a small oval mirror, have the children place half of it within a half-filled bowl of water, so only one end of the mirror is covered, and the exposed end leans against the side of the bowl. Place the bowl near a strong light source (direct sunlight or a flashlight) and have the light shine directly on the mirror. Hold a white piece of paper up to the light bouncing off of the mirror, and you will see the rainbow of colors. As with looking at the direct sun can hurt your eyes, a reflection can as well. If you are concerned about eye damage in smaller children, use a light source such as a dark room and a flashlight.

What this teaches:

●Prism science

●The colors of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet)

Lessons in concave and convex glass. Using a concave glass mirror, use direct sunlight to bounce off of the mirror onto a small manila folder. Have the kids hold a finger up to the mirror, without covering it. An image of the finger (a shadow) will not appear. Try the same experiment with a convex glass surface, and the shadow will appear on the folder.

What this teaches:

●Concave glass scatters light and cannot project a clear image

●Convex glass can reflect a clear image, which is why it is used for most bathroom mirrors

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