Source: Be A Scientist: Light


Reflected Light

What happens when light hits an object that it can't pass through? If the object is black, the light is absorbed and changed to heat energy. If the object is white, most of the light is reflected back.

Can you think of an object you probably use everyday that reflects light? If you guessed a mirror, you were correct! A mirror reflects almost all the light that falls on it.

Try these experiments with a classmate to find out more about how mirrors reflect light.

Materials: 3 mirrors

1. Place one mirror in the path of sunlight.

2. Place the second mirror in such a way that light rays are reflected from the first mirror.

3. Place the third mirror in the path of the reflected rays of the second mirror.

Where can you see the light?

What do you think would happen if you placed another mirror in the path of the light?

Can you use the mirrors to direct the light to a specific spot? Set up your own experiment with reflected light. Start with a question you want to answer. Design an experiment that will help you find out. Write your procedure below.


Materials: ruler, paper, small mirror, protractor, pencil

1. Draw a dotted or broken line on the paper with a ruler.

2. Draw a straight line across it at any angle.

3. Place a mirror upright at the point where the two lines meet. Turn it until the reflection of the dotted line is in line with the real dotted line.

4. Look into the mirror and line up one edge of the ruler with the reflection of the straight line.

5. Draw this line and then measure the angles on each side of the dotted line with a protractor.

6. Repeat, changing the size of the angle.

What can you conclude?

What are your overall conclusions about reflected light?