- Physics (5B)
How does a kaleidoscope work?
Materials: ruler, tape, silver mylar sheets, 3/4 oz plastic cup, toilet paper
tube, paper towels
Measure 3 pieces of 2.5 cm by 10 cm
piece of silver mylar that your teacher will provide. If you have a different
size tube consult your teacher. Join the 3 pieces of silver mylar into a
triangular prism. MAKE SURE YOU PUT THE SHINY SURFACE INSIDE. Tape the
triangular prism together. (see picture below)
Put a small number of colored beads or
any other materials in the plastic cup. Record what you put in your
kaleidoscope. Position the cup in one end of the toilet paper tube. Put the lid
on the cup.
Wrap the triangular prism in paper
towel (you may need 2 or 3 sheets depending on the thickness of the towel) so
it fits snugly in the tube.
Point the tube toward a light source and rotate the plastic cup as you look
through the open end of the tube. You have just made a kaleidoscope. List what
and how many items you put in your kaleidoscope.
LOOK AT YOUR KALEIDOSCOPE. Draw what you
see in the tube without turning it. How many sections is it divided into?
Look through your partners kaleidoscope.
Is it different from yours? How?
CONCLUSION: Why do you think a kaleidoscope works. Explain?