We’re continuing with our simple science experiments this week by taking a look at light refraction. I found a great light refraction experiment video on YouTube and decided to try it with Tigger.
Full disclosure: I didn’t know that refraction was what this experiment demonstrated. I actually had to look it up first. But the experiment is super easy and quick, so that’s a big plus!
Check out this easy way to teach kids about light with this simple light refraction experiment!
And, if you like this one, try some of our other science activities, including how to make an egg float and our easy heat conduction experiment!
Simple Light Refraction Experiment
Watching the original light refraction experiment on YouTube will give you a great look at what’s involved in this activity. But you really only need four things:
- A sticky note (I used a Post-It)
- A marker
- An empty transparent bottle
Draw two arrows on a sticky note. Make sure that each arrow points in a different direction. Stick the note to a blank wall.
Next, fill up the water bottle. Oh – put the lid on before you do this too! You don’t want water spilling out when you move the bottle around…lol.
The alternating arrows on the note point to the left and the right. Let the kids gradually move the water-filled bottle in front of the sticky note. As the bottle moves in front of the sticky note, something amazing happens.
The arrows appear to change direction! The top arrow, which points to the left, appears to point to the right. And the bottom arrow, which points to the right, appears to point to the left!
Move the bottle back to see the arrows return to their original directions.
So what exactly is going on? We learned that refraction occurs because light bends when it passes through substances, such as water and plastic.
As the light travels through a substance, it becomes concentrated into a focal point, usually near the center. After light passes through the focal point, the rays cross over each other and cause images to appear reversed.
Turns out you can’t believe your eyes after all! 🙂
Books with Simple Science Experiments:
If you liked this simple science experiment, take a look at these books with even more easy activities! (Affiliate links provided here for convenience. For details, see our Disclosure Policy.)
- Science is Simple: Over 250 Activities for Preschoolers
- 365 Simple Science Experiments with Everyday Materials
- The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book
- Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments
Don’t miss the rest of our Simple Science Experiments!
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Lula B says
I love this demonstration. Must do it again with my kids! Amazing how much you can learn and do with simple household objects!
Light refraction and how it moves is really so cool. Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday (even when I’m behind on commenting).