Education Technology

Focusing on Light

Published on 07/04/2010

Activity Overview

In this activity, students explore the reflection of light by parabolic and semicircular mirrors. They begin by exploring reflection using a series of flat mirrors that are attached to one another to create a flexible mirror that can simulate a curved mirror. Students then explore reflection by a true parabolic mirror and by a semicircular mirror. They use their observations to differentiate between curved and parabolic reflectors.

Key Steps

  • Image

    Students should open the TNS file and read the first two pages. Page 1.3 shows a group of five plane mirrors reflecting a series of light rays. The dotted lines in the image are incident light rays; they cannot be adjusted. Students should adjust these mirrors so that the reflected light passes through the single point marked A. It may take students several tries to align the rays correctly. They should then answer question 1 on page 1.4.