The weekend already…Yay! Hope you are doing something fun…. if you are looking for an activity to entertain your children why not try this?… My junior scientists had great fun making these simple kaleidoscopes and learning about light and reflection!
Here is what you will need:
- a sheet of mirrored card* (we found a packed of A4 mirrored card in our local craft shop)
- a ruler
- a scissors
- some felt pens
- tracing paper/transparent paper
- a sheet of clear plastic (optional)
What to do…
1. Cut a 6cm strip off the long end of our A4 mirrored card leaving the card 24 cm in length
2. Fold the card in half (mirror side in) so that the short ends meet
3. Open back out the card and next fold the short ends in so that they meet in the middle
4. You should now have a card with three folds and four sections, 6 cm wide
5. Next fold the card into a triangle (mirrored side in), with one of the strips overlapping
6. Tape this overlapping strip along the edge so the triangle is now secure – this will be the tube of your kaleidoscope
7. Now it is time to prepare the designs for your kaleidoscope… we used the coloured pens to draw designs on a square piece of clear plastic, at least 6 X 6 cm in size.
8. Once finished tape the coloured squares on to a piece of transparent paper (or you can just draw your design directly onto transparent paper if you wish)
9. Now it is time to use your Kaleidoscope… hold the transparent paper with the design up to a window or a light source, look at it through the kaleidoscope… rotate the paper and see how the patterns change
What is happening?
Light travels through the transparent paper into the kaleidoscope where is bounces off each of the three sides before reaching our eyes. As each side is mirrored it reflects the light that bounces off it and also the light bouncing off the other mirrored sides of the kaleidoscope. All this reflecting makes multiple images of different parts of the pattern and create a very interesting effect.
Do have a go it is great fun!
*Note: if you cannot get mirrored card you can use cardboard covered in aluminium foil. This will work better if you also add a layer of clear plastic on top of the foil… creating a better mirror!