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In this activity, learners build inexpensive kaleidoscopes using transparency paper and foil (instead of mirrors). Use this activity to introduce learners to concepts related to optics, light, mirrors, and geometry. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 paper towel tube
  • 1 sheet of transparency paper
  • 1 sheet of foil
  • 1 sheet of colored paper
  • 1 tsp. colorful, transparent and translucent beads
  • scissors
  • tape
  • pen
  • ruler


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
      • Solid Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


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