Pictures From Light

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Did you know that using a lens one can bend light to make pictures of the world? It's true! Using the lens from a disposable camera or a magnifying glass, learners will make a picture of a light source - like a window or TV screen - on a piece of paper.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • lens-like the one in a magnifying glass or one from a disposable camera
  • room that you can make very dark
  • light source-like a TV set or a brightly lit window
  • sheet of white paper


  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Murphy, Pat ; Klages, Ellen ; Shore, Linda


  • All rights reserved, The Exploratorium, 1998