Additional aspects of light to be considered

Reflection of light from shiny surfaces 

Children in the middle and senior classes will investigate that mirrors and other shiny surfaces can change the direction of light. A period of unstructured exploration should be planned so that the children can try bouncing sunlight on walls or playing ‘light spot tag’. These activities should help children to realise that mirrors reflect light. Children can bounce a beam of light from a torch or projector off a mirror and onto another surface. Further investigations of the effects of bouncing light beams using two or more mirrors can be carried out. Designing and making a simple periscope using mirrors will support this work.

Through exploration, children will discover that mirrors reverse images. Games can be played that involve making the mirror image perform an action, such as blinking the left eye or touching the right ear. Work with mirrors will enable teachers to introduce the concept of symmetry. The children can be given half a picture, for example a butterfly, and asked to use a mirror to complete it. An investigation of the presence or absence of mirror symmetry in letters of the alphabet can also be undertaken. The children can first predict the letters that they consider to be symmetrical. They may come to conclude that some letters — X, O, I and H — have both horizontal and vertical lines of symmetry.