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This week I'm reflecting on mirrors!

Anamorphic Tea Cup


Hello again!

Some mirror related activities this week.  Most of these will work a bit better if you can use proper mirrors, but a lot of them will work OK with the shiny side of tin foil or the inside of a crisp packet.  Incidentally if you want to know more about the science of how they get that shiny coating then this video by Dr Clara Barker in the University Department of Materials explains a bit more about it (for older children as it is fairly technical).

Periscopes are traditionally used by submarines to look out for ships.   Winchester Science Centre has a great periscope you can use to look out over the centre.  I recommend checking it out if you ever get a chance to visit.  You can have a go at building your own periscope by following these instructions. Alternatively have a go at creating a simple kaleidescope. This site has some more in depth kaleidescope/mirror ideas including creating one to attach to a phone/camera.  A I also rather like these examples of building light mazes where you have to guide a beam of light round a maze using mirrors. The lego one looks nice and straightforward. All of these activities will give you a chance to talk about simple reflections from flat mirrors.  

Now that the weather is so sunny (while I was writing this anyway), have a go at some solar cooking that uses reflection, with this pizza box oven from Life Science Centre.

For a mathematical exploration of reflections from a cylinder see these Think Maths resources which are aimed at KS3/4/5.  I have a tea cup that uses the same idea (see the picture above).  

Test yourself with an exploration of how we form memories of physical tasks by drawing in a mirror.  Do you get better with more practice?  Alternatively there is a similar activity where you can find out more about Leonardo Da Vinci's mirror writing and try to decide what his reasons were for using it.

In nature, many things like shells and DNA almost exclusively twist or curl in a particular way with its mirror image form being extremely rare.  Molecules can behave completely differently from their mirror image too.  Objects that can exist in two versions (each the mirror image of each other) are said to be chiral.  These resources on chirality from Oxford Sparks are aimed at secondary school students.  

And finally ...

Three book recommendations:  

M is for Mirror and Look Twice are both published by Tarquin books and can be bought both new and second hand from the usual places.  They are both picture books which come with a mirror which you have to strategically place to create a new picture. 

The Documents in the Case by Dorothy Sayers and Robert Eustace also have a link to this week's theme (but saying much more might give away the plot!)