Cardboard Opaque Projector

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In this activity, learners construct a projector out of cardboard to view their favorite images (such as storybook illustrations) on the wall. Use this activity to introduce learners to concepts related to optics, light, lenses, and mirrors. Note: this activity requires the use of a saw, not included in the cost of materials. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 1' square cardboard box
  • 5 small pieces of cardboard or foam board
  • 1 6" x 10-17" mirror
  • 1 3" diameter cardboard tube
  • 1-2 clip light with 23W compact florescent bulb or strong flashlight
  • 1 73mm +3.0 or 3.5 convex lens with about a 12" focal length
  • duct tape
  • hot glue gun
  • small wood saw
  • utility knife
  • protractor or 45 degree square


  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors
      • Reflection and Refraction
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Literature


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Oakland Discovery Centers


  • All rights reserved, Oakland Discovery Centers, 2012

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