Activity

Mirror maze and writing

Summary
Write your name or draw your way through a maze while looking in a mirror.
Science content
Physics: Light and Sound (1)
Lessons activity is in
Materials
  • shoe box with a separate lid; one end of the box folded inwards
  • small mirror and tape
  • mazes and other written challenges, laminated for repeated use (see attachment)
  • dry erase pen and tissue to erase
Procedure

Print the challenges:
Print out the attached pages double sided, then cut the sheets in half to make challenges on each side of the two sheets. Laminate.
Each sheet will then have a maze on one side, and a written challenge on the other.
When the written challenge is read in the mirror it says either "DRAW A FACE" or "WRITE YOUR NAME".

Prepare the shoebox:
Remove the lid and tape a small flat mirror near one edge of the lid.
Open up one short side of the box and tape flat, to make an opening on one end of the box.

Show students how to set up the activity:
Clip the chosen maze or challenge to one end of the support board.
Place the opened-up box on its side, and place the board and maze inside. Place the edge of the lid under the other end of the board, so that the board holds the assembly in place (see first photo). If the lid still falls over, place a supporting box behind it.
Make sure the box is oriented to enable left- or right-handed drawing on the maze through the opened box side.

Students sit behind the box and look over it into the mirror, to see the reflection of the maze/challenge in the mirror. They should not look directly at the maze (though some will not be able to help themselves).
While only looking in the mirror, use the dry erase pen to solve the maze or challenge. It is hard, but a fun challenge for most students.

Discussion:
Students can describe their experiences. They will find that moving the up and down movements of the pen are reversed in the mirror - when the pen is moved towards you, in the mirror it appears to move further away, and vice versa.
This effect happens because the straight rays of light are reflected in the mirror.

Attached documents
Grades taught
Gr 1
Gr 2
Teaching site
After School Programs at Elementary schools in New York City
Ross Road Elementary