Monday, November 26, 2007

Fun with mirrors

When I was younger, one of my favorite books consisted of pages of designs that came with a small, flat mirror. You would line up the mirror at a certain point on the page and see how the mirror affected the design.

You can try this for yourself. Make a vertical line down the center of a piece of paper and draw something on just one side. Maybe you could make half of a face (one eye, half a nose, and part of a mouth) or part of a snake or just a wild pattern. Then place the flat edge of the mirror exactly on the line. What do you notice? Is your face now whole? How does your snake look? Is your pattern the same or different?

Mylar reflective sheets make great flexible mirrors. You can find this material at specialty garden stores. Check out the cover of The Magic Mirror to see what you can do with it!

Pick up a shiny new metal spoon and look at yourself as if it were a mirror. If you are looking on the concave side of the spoon (the side you eat from), your image will be upside down. If you are looking at the convex side, your image will be right side up. You can learn about the differences between convex and concave mirrors at The Science of Light.

Visit Exploratorium to learn about making a cylindrical mirror or setting up two mirrors that seem to reflect forever.

You can also take a picture of your reflection and send it to The Mirror Project.

What’s your favorite mirror activity?

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