It's all Done with Mirrors

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This fun and simple hands-on astronomy activity illustrates the path of light as it reflects off of mirrors and how this is used in telescopes. Learners will explore how a telescope works, why the image inside a telescope is upside down, and how mirrors focus and concentrate light. The pdf contains step-by-step instructions, photos, and presentation tips.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Spoon
  • Foam strips
  • Template for foam strips (included)
  • 10 skewer sticks
  • Scissors
  • Concave mirror
  • Small flashlight
  • Index card or piece of white paper


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors
      • Reflection and Refraction
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2008