Light Sound and Waves

Mini Magnifier

At home for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • Clear plastic, eg from a pop bottle
  • Sticky tape
  • Water
  • Teaspoon


  1. Cut out a small piece of clear plastic (approx 5 cm by 3 cm) and put sticky tape around the edges if they are sharp
  2. Use the teaspoon to put a single small drop of water on to the middle of the plastic
  3. Place the plastic carefully over some text and look straight down through the top of the drop

Results and Explanation

The text will look bigger! The water drop acts as a magnifying lens. Light from the page travelling through the drop it is bent (refracted) making the text look much bigger.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

can be represented by Ray Diagrams
formalised by Snell's Law
has the special case Total Internal Reflection
is used in analyses relating to Lens
can be analysed using the quantity Refractive Index
can be exhibited by Progressive Wave
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