Light, Sound and Waves

Mirror writing - a reinforcement activity

Classroom Activity for 5-11 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

Developing the vocabulary used to describe light in a new and challenging context.

Children will have started to describe lights and come to some common agreement which allows them to communicate with each other. They will also have begun to think about the sources of those lights, both what is luminous and the quality of light those luminous objects give rise to. This is a chance to challenge and extend this evolving descriptive framework.

So this is a useful extension or reinforcement activity.

What to Prepare

  • Some cheap plastic mirrors
  • Pencils
  • Paper

What Happens During this Activity

Children are asked to write their names on pieces of paper in such a way that when viewed in the mirror the writing appears normal.

This is an excellent activity for a 5 minutes class mat time or small group work. Both these can be run either by an adult or by a child. The evolving ideas and the reasoning are the target, rather than the final decision.

Teacher Tip: It is a good idea to have a good means of revealing the source to avoid frustration. Even if when the writing still comes out backwards, there can be some learning taking place. This is not an activity to award right and wrong badges.

You can smooth the path by asking:

Teacher: Which letters did you find most easy to mirror write with?

is formalised by Law of Reflection
can be exhibited by Progressive Wave
has the special case Total Internal Reflection
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