www.sciensation.org | Ciênsação hands-on experiments are published as Open Educational resources under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
age: 8 – 12

Exploring mirrors

What is a mirror and what does it do?

This activity – as trivial as it may seem – can be a great help to surface misconceptions your students hold about light and vision.

Learning objective

Surfacing misconceptions about light and vision.

Making concise scientific statements.


Simply hand out mirrors. Give your students some time to experiment in groups and write down their answers.

Student Task

1. Why can you see yourself in a mirror?

2. Describe a mirror in one or two sentences, making clear what it does.


Carefully listen to individual students: How do they explain what they see in a mirror, and how do they believe mirrors and vision work?

There is no single correct definition of a mirror, but the discussion will make your students distinguish between optical phenomena and hone their skills to make scientific statements.