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An Ice Lens

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    Optical Society of America

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An Ice Lens

In this optics activity, learners discover basic lens-making techniques by using a tennis ball to make a lens out of ice. After the ice freezes, learners will use the lens to magnify images in a magazine and project a TV image onto a piece of paper. This activity guide explains how opticians make lenses and includes a link to background information about lenses and geometrical optics.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 14 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • A tennis ball
  • A sharp knife
  • Vegetable oil
  • A small juice glass
  • Distilled water (from the supermarket or drug store)
  • A freezer
  • A magazine


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
      • Medical Technology
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
    • Science as a Career


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


  • Cobb, Vicki; Cobb, Josh


  • All Rights Reserved, Optical Society of America, ©2008


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