Mirrorly a Window

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In this activity about light and reflection, learners discover that what you see is often affected by what you expect to see. Learners hold on to a device consisting of two mirrors glued back to back to each other with a dowel handle on either side. While looking at one side of the mirror, learners move one hand on the other side of the mirror. They will be surprised as their brain is fooled into thinking that the image it sees in the mirror is actually their other hand. Learners can participate in assembling the mirror device or use a pre-assembled one. This resource also includes a simpler version of this activity in the "etcetera" section at the bottom of the guide.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 mirrors, 12 x 12 inches (30 x 30 cm), either glass mirror tiles or plastic mirrors
  • 2 wooden dowels, 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter x 1 foot (30 cm) long
  • Epoxy glue
  • Duct tape
  • Dowel screw (optional)
  • Adult help


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
      • Perception
  • 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


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • California Department of Education
  • NEC Foundation of America