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Mirrors and Reflection of Light

based on 6 ratings
Author: Judee Shipman
Type

Physics

Grade Level

5 & up

Difficulty

Medium-Hard

Cost

Minimal

Safety Issues

None.

Material Availability

All materials readily available.

Project Time Frame

4-6 weeks

Objective

This project explores the properties and uses of reflective surfaces.

The goals of this project are:

  • To experiment with reflective surfaces.
  • To encourage further technological advances based on reflection.

Materials and Equipment

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, wood, etc.)
  • Mirrors

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay.

Introduction

When we think of reflection, we think of mirrors. But reflection can also occur with sound and waves (of water). Specular reflection (such as with mirrors) is used not only to see ourselves, but can also magnify things such as visual images and heat. This project deals with mirrored reflection, as we experiment with the nature of light.

Research Questions

What makes a mirror reflect?

What are some of the practical uses for reflective surfaces?

What are some exciting ways to demonstrate these uses?

Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research

  • Diffraction
  • Diffuse reflection
  • Specular reflection

Experimental Procedure

  • Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)
  • Search and print out interesting images that seem appropriate to this project.
  • Address all of the above terms and research questions.
  • Take your own photographs throughout the course of the experiment.
  • Run one or more of the experiments described in the links below.
  • Carefully record all observations.
  • Analyze your data.
  • Interpret your findings in a detailed report.

Include interesting photos, diagrams and models in your science fair display.

Bibliography

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflection_%28physics%29 (Wiki topic: Reflection)
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror (Wiki topic: Mirror)
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_test (Wiki topic: Mirror test)
  4. http://home.howstuffworks.com/science-experiments-for-kids7.htm (Three simple mirror experiments)
  5. http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/experiments/simopticsmirror.htm (Another experiment with mirrors)
  6. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Phys_p077.shtml (Build an Interferometer)
  7. Internet searches of your choosing. Search words or terms listed here, or make up your own phrases. Click on any results you find interesting. Have fun surfing the net!
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