Friday, January 3, 2014

Mirrors, Mirrors

For young children, mirrors can be truly magical.  Whether children are discovering a reflection of themselves or seeing bright lights and colors bounce from glass, mirrors introduce them to the world around them in a unique way.

Infants and toddlers may look at their reflection and think, Who or what is that? They may tap on the reflective surface to see what the image feels like. 

Preschoolers might gaze in a mirror or window and make gestures, discovering, That is me! That is what I am doing! 

Older children may begin to lose interest in their own reflection; however, they still enjoy interacting with reflective surfaces. Preschoolers and beyond can begin to see the many uses of mirrors in our world—including the math and science concepts in reflection!

Reflections show us lines and angles that allow for investigations in geometry. The properties of shape can be explored through symmetry. An online resource, Math is Fun, tells us that symmetry is when one shape becomes exactly like another if you flip, slide, or turn it.

Try this! Place the pinky side of your hand against a mirrored surface; notice the reflection. While keeping the side of your hand on the mirror, move your hand back and forth. What changes?  What does not? 

Reflection occurs when light bounces off an object. When light is bent, it is called refraction. Mirrors provide opportunity to both bounce and bend light in fun and creative ways! Explore reflection and refraction using more than one mirror!

Make some reflective discoveries of your own. Visit us and look for mirrors throughout the Museum! 

Stay tuned! Return to this blog next week, when we will share more about the many mirrors of DuPage Children's Museum.  

Optics for Kids

This article also published in Positively Naperville--a local, reader supported, monthly newspaper published in Naperville, Illinois. Positively Naperville has been supported by a great group of local businesses, organically growing four pages at a time since it was first printed issue in September 2001.

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