Grade Range
1st
Group Size
2 students
Active Time
1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time
1 hour, 15 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
Light, light reflection
Learning Objectives
  • Understand that some materials redirect light.
  • Describe how a mirror works.
  • Investigate how you can redirect a light beam using reflective materials.
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
A sheet of paper with a target sign stands up on a table. Three mirrors are placed around the target sign. A flashlight is shining onto one of the mirrors. A yellow line represents the light path.

Overview

We see ourselves in a mirror because mirrors reflect light. Light interacts with materials in different ways; for instance, shiny surfaces like mirrors are able to change the direction of light. In this lesson plan, students will demonstrate how light bounces off a reflective surface by redirecting a light beam from a flashlight to different locations within the classroom. Students will then be challenged to use their knowledge about mirrors to find a way to guide a light beam to a specific target using multiple mirrors.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Planning and Carrying out Investigations. Plan and conduct investigations collaboratively to produce evidence to answer a question.
PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation. Some materials allow light to pass through them, others allow only some light through and others block all the light and create a dark shadow on any surface beyond them, where the light cannot reach. Mirrors can be used to redirect a light beam.
Cause and Effect. Simple tests can be designed to gather evidence to support or refute student ideas about causes.

Materials


Materials needed for the 'Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...'  lesson plan

Per student group of 2:

  • Three small square mirrors (4"x4"). Note: The glass edges of the mirrors might be sharp. Cover them with tape to prevent students from cutting themselves. Alternatively, you can use other highly reflective materials, such as old CDs or squares of heavy-duty flat aluminum foil.
  • 6 clothespins or binder clips
  • Flashlight, ideally with a narrow beam
  • Marker or pen
  • Printed target

For teacher:

  • Flashlight
  • Mirror
  • Tape
  • White cardstock paper

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Grade Range
1st
Group Size
2 students
Active Time
1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time
1 hour, 15 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
Light, light reflection
Credits
Svenja Lohner, PhD, Science Buddies
Learning Objectives
  • Understand that some materials redirect light.
  • Describe how a mirror works.
  • Investigate how you can redirect a light beam using reflective materials.
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