Make a Light Fountain

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In this optics activity, learners make a "light fountain" from a clear plastic bottle, flashlight, and other simple materials. Use this activity to illustrate light reflection, specifically total internal reflection, as well as how fiber optics work.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Clear plastic bottle with label removed
  • Duct tape
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Dark room
  • Sink or bucket
  • Thumbtack
  • Corkscrew
  • Flashlight


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


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


  • Walter, Pamela J. ; Paddock, Bruce T.


  • All rights reserved, Optical Society of America, 2008