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Mirror Reversal

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    The Exploratorium

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Mirror Reversal

Challenge popular misconceptions, learners explore how a mirror actually reflects an image in this activity. Many people believe that mirrors reverse an image left and right, but not up and down, when in reality they don't do either. In fact, mirrors reverse images front and back. This activity includes step-by-step instructions with pictures, an explanation of the science behind the activity, and a video to help educators adapt this for a classroom setting. Materials Note: requires a sheet of transparency or a see through surface that can be written on.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Full-length mirror
  • Four pieces of opaque paper
  • Tape (for mounting the paper)
  • Marker
  • Transparency or other clear surface with the letter
  • Paper large enough to cover the back of the transparency
  • Optional: a partner


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
      • Perception
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access