This artistic Science Snack is great for exploring how light can be reflected in different ways off of non-flat mirrors. This activity helps to investigate the light and shadow from different light sources, from different-shaped mirrors, and at different distances and angles from the light sources. Explorations of color mixing can also be conducted with this activity.
Not only is this Snack an engaging and crafty way to get your learners to think about questions that can lead to good investigations, it can also help to build a scientific community as they share their observations with each other. It’s also a great activity for starting discussions about how art and science are related, and allows learners who are more artistically creative to have an outlet in a scientific space.
Encourage learners to raise questions about the patterns of light and shadow that they see on the viewing screen. Then help them plan and carry out investigations to answer those questions. Having different types of light sources and filters of different shapes and colors will help students to dive deeper into their investigations. If doing this activity virtually, encourage learners to think about what different sources of light they have available to them.
Asking the questions, “What do you notice? What does this remind you of? What do you wonder? What would you like to try?” helps to create an equitable way for both shy and outspoken learners to contribute to the larger community investigation at hand.
This activity would be a nice addition to a unit on light. When thinking about light reflection, we often only discuss reflections off of flat surfaces, but this is an opportunity to investigate the more complicated reflections (and lensing) that occur with curved surfaces. An option to follow up with could be a discussion of cylindrical mirrors and anamorphic reflections.
This Snack works well for younger students, because it allows them to be creative and build their pixel tubes however they want. Asking younger students what they notice based on color, size, shape, etc. and discussing their answers can help them to build a common scientific vocabulary.