Make a Kaleidoscope

Make a Kaleidoscope

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Many of you have probably played with a kaleidoscope. It is a tube that you hold up to your eye. You point the tube toward light and then slowly turn it. As you turn the tube you can see patterns of colors at the other end of the tube. A kaleidoscope works by reflecting light.

Light travels in a straight line. When light bumps into something it changes direction. If light bumps into something shiny it reflects back in the direction it came from. Think of light like a bouning ball. In a kaleidoscope there are shiny surfaces. If you make your own kaleidoscope you can use mirrors or aluminum foil. When you point the kaleidscope toward light, the light enters the kaleidoscope and reflects back and forth between the shiny surfaces inside the kaleidoscope. Since you have filled the end of the kaleidoscope with little shiny objects, the light bounces off those too and makes the interesting patterns of color. As you turn the kaleidoscope the little shiny objects move which makes the patterns of color move.

Here is a video that will show you how to make your own kaleidoscope:

Here are some websites and books that will help you understand how kaleidoscopes work or build your own:

Stomp Rockets, Catapults & Kaleidoscopes
Build Your Own Mini Golf Course (Kaleidoscope page 18)

Stomp Rockets Catapults and Kaleidoscopes Build Your Own Light and Sound Tricks of Light and Sound

Words to Know:

Reflect: To bounce off.

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