Making Light Bounce

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Author: Angela Pike

Grade Level: 3rd - 5th; Type: Physical Science


To demonstrate that light travels in straight lines. To experiment with reflecting light. 

Research Questions:

  • How does light travel?
  • What happens to the path of light when it hits an object?
  • How can light be reflected?

Light travels in a straight line. It continues in that straight line until it hits another object. The light then can be absorbed, refracted, or reflected. A shiny object such as a mirror can be used to redirect light from its source to another location through reflection.


  • 3 or more mirrors
  • Flashlight (This should be strong flashlight, like a MagLite.)
  • Book

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Dim the lights in the room so that the light from your flashlight will show well during this experiment.
  2. Set up a book on a table so that it’s standing. Point your flashlight at the front side of the book. What happened to the beam of light? Draw an illustration.
  3. Lean a mirror against the front of the book so that it’s standing. Point the flashlight at the mirror and turn it on. What happened to the beam of light? Draw an illustration.
  4. Have an adult or friend help you use 2-3 more mirrors to direct the flashlight beam to the backside of the book through reflection. Try many different ways to do this. Draw diagrams of each path you create to reflect the light to the back of the book.  

Terms/Concepts:  Light; Absorption; Refraction; Reflection


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