SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS FOR KIDS
HOW TO MAKE A MYLAR LIGHTBOX
Show your kids that mylar isn’t just for balloons and your club pants from the 90’s
This animal is not on exhibit in the habitats. It is one of our Animal Ambassadors and is used in public and school programs.
Your kids have seen Mylar that’s been made into their favorite party balloon (and maybe they’ve seen you wearing it in those old home movies.) Here’s a way to use that shiny sheeting along with a shoebox and some simple household items to make a cool science project.
You can make your own light box at home, that uses the reflective power of Mylar to teach your kids about light and shadows. You’ll have to explain those pants on your own.
- Empty shoebox
- Tracing paper
- Clear, plastic wrap
- Mylar sheeting
THEN DO THIS:
- Cut out the bottom of a shallow, small, shoebox to create a frame.
- Cover the bottom of your box frame with tracing paper.
- Cut your Mylar sheeting into strips the height of your box frame. Vary the length to get different shapes.
- Tape each strip into a round tube like shape. Place each tube into the box. Squish in as many as you can. (Squish is not a scientific term.)
- Cover the top of the cardboard box with a sheet of plastic wrap. Tape it into place as tightly as possible.
- Go play. Angle your box toward a window, a mirror, a computer screen or a television. The tracing paper side should be facing you. (Don’t aim at direct sunlight. You can be injured.) Hold it at different angles to see pattern variations.
- How does the box angle affect the light you see?
- How does the position of the box affect the shapes and shadows?
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
The Mylar tubes reflect light. When you change the angle of your light box, the angle of reflection changes, creating various patterns and shadows.
WHAT THIS TEACHES:
Skills: Scientific method, fine motor skills, measuring
Themes: Light and shadows, reflection