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1 August 2014
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Ages 5 - 6 Ages 6 - 7 Ages 7 - 8
Ages 8 - 9 Ages 9 - 10 Ages 10 - 11

Science topics ages 10 - 11
How we see things

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Online lesson plan


Understand that mirrors reflect light

Learn that when a beam of light is reflected from a surface, its direction changes

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Sc1 2g; Sc4 3a, 3c

Wales: Key Stage 2, Physical processes, 3.1, 3.4

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Physical processes, Light, c

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Properties and uses of energy, Level C

Resources required

Online activity from Science Clips website: How we see things

Copies of the How we see things worksheet printed from the Science Clips website

Teaching activities

Ask the children to name different light sources. Record these on display. If they suggest objects that reflect light, display these in a separate list. Why have I put your suggestions into two groups? Ensure they understand the difference between a light source that emits its own light, and an object that reflects light from a light source. How can we see objects that do not emit light? Lead children to point out that most surfaces reflect light that shines on them, and this reflected light enters our eyes. To illustrate this, draw a diagram of a light source, a mirror and an eye on the board. Use this diagram to show that flat mirrors reflect a true likeness of objects. This is because light falling on a mirror at a certain angle (the angle of incidence) will be reflected at an equal angle (the angle of reflection).

Tell the children that they are going to complete an activity to investigate how flat mirrors reflect light from a light source. Open the online activity on an interactive whiteboard. Explain how to select an angled mirror and place it on the screen in the path of the light. How does the light change direction when it hits the mirror? Explain they must drag mirrors onto the screen to illuminate each of the objects around the edge of the activity area.

Divide children into groups with a computer for each group. Ask each group to work through the activity, following the tasks written (and read aloud) at the top of the screen.

Draw an example on the board of the set-up of mirrors needed in the online activity to illuminate the tent. Annotate on it the angles of incidence and the angles of reflection. Ask the children to draw how a mirror reflects light into an eye. Ensure they label the light source, mirror, eye, angle of incidence, and angle of reflection.


Children could try the quiz on the online activity. Or hand out copies of the worksheet and ask children to draw in the path of the light in each example.

Suggested homework

Make a list of objects in the home that are light sources and a list of objects that reflect light. What properties of materials reflect light best (shiny, smooth)?


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