Science project

Reflecting Light


  • Plane mirror
  • Toy
  • Source of light


  1. Gather the materials which you require for this project. These include a plane mirror (the larger, the better), a toy, and a source of light.
  2. Copy the chart that you will use to record all of your observations.
  3. Do not look in the mirror! Start by recording on your chart how you expect a mirror image of your face will be different from an image of your actual face. Do you think it will be identical? If not, how will it differ?
  4. Now, look at your face in the mirror. Pretend that you are looking at a stranger who happens to be looking back at you. On your chart, record what you observe.
  5. Touch your left ear with your left hand. Look into the mirror. On which side of the mirror is your left hand? Record your observation.
  6. Touch your right ear with your right hand. Observe and record. On which side of the mirror is your right hand?
  7. Put your fingertip on the right-hand side of the mirror. On which side of the mirror is the reflection of your finger? Observe and record.
  8. Based on your observations, what conclusion do you reach? What kind of a reversal are you experiencing? Record your response.
  9. Place your toy in front of the mirror. Look carefully into the mirror. Where does it appear to be? In the front? In the back?
  10. Study the image of the toy; does the image appear to be the same distance behind the mirror as the actual distance the toy sits in front of the mirror? Is this a real or a virtual image?
  11. What do you conclude from this investigation? Is your brain playing games? How does the law of reflection enter this picture?
  12. Write up your report. What do you conclude about how our brain and the law of reflection influence our perception of the toy being behind the mirror when we “know” it is in front of the mirror? How do we explain virtual images?
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Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

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