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Laser Jello

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    The Exploratorium

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Laser Jello

In this activity, learners use gelatin as a lens to investigate the properties of laser light. Learners can view total internal reflection of a beam of light and investigate angles of reflection and refraction. Using different colors of gelatin demonstrates its color filtering properties. Use this activity to help learners explore light reflection and refraction, wavelengths, color, and lenses.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
2 to 4 hours

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • D-shaped refraction or petri dishes
  • One red-colored and one blueberry package of Jello™
  • A laser (preferably HeNe), 2 recommended
  • Protractor
  • White piece of paper or waxed paper
  • Empty dish


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Lasers
      • Lenses and Mirrors
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Vibration and Waves
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Light and Optics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Strahm Black, Heidi


  • All Rights Reserved, The Exploratorium,

Funding Sources:

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


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