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Duck Into Kaleidoscope

Science Snack
Duck Into Kaleidoscope
Make multiple images of yourself.
Duck Into Kaleidoscope
Make multiple images of yourself.

With this mirrored kaleidoscope, you can create hundreds of images of whatever you place inside. The basic structure is a triangle, but mirrors can be formed into other shapes and angles as well.

Note: While Snacks were originally conceived to require only low-cost materials, a few Snacks—such as this one—use materials that are notably costly (although there is a reasonable chance these materials might be found in a middle- or high-school classroom). If your school has such items, then this Snack may be appropriate. If not, its usefulness may depend on your ability to obtain or improvise suitable substitutes.

Tools and Materials
  • Three 1/8-inch-thick acrylic (plastic) mirrors, each measuring 1 feet × 2 feet (30 × 60 cm), available from a plastics supply store
  • Duct tape

1. Tape the short sides of the three mirrors together to form a triangle, with the reflecting surfaces on the inside (see photo at top).

To Do and Notice

Put the kaleidoscope over your head and you'll see a million faces!

What's Going On?

In a kaleidoscope you see reflections of reflections.

Going Further

If you have extra mirrors, experiment by making other closed geometrical shapes such as a square, a rectangle, or a hexagon. Put each shape over your head, or place an object in the center of the shape, and look at the reflections.