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Polarized Sunglasses

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    The Exploratorium

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Polarized Sunglasses

In this activity, learners explore how polarizing sunglasses can help diminish road glare. By rotating a pair of polarizing sunglass lenses or other polarizing materials, learners will discover that some angles are better at reducing glare than others. Learners observe light from the sky, reflected from a mirror, or reflected from the surface of a pond. Use this activity to introduce learners to principles of light and polarization.

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 Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • One or two pieces of polarizing material (such as old lenses from polarizing sunglasses)
  • One clear light bulb with socket and cord
  • One piece of shiny opaque plastic (the shiny black side of a cassette tape case will work well)


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

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity


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



  • All Rights Reserved, The Exploratorium,

Funding Sources:

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


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