The results of this experiment are pretty surprising. Kids (and adults) will stare in amazement and scratch their heads wondering what caused the arrow to change direction.
Do you know why? Leave a comment below to submit your guess.
Light Refraction Science Experiment Video
- Piece of Paper
Step 1 – Get a sheet of paper, and draw two arrows on it. One arrow near the top and one arrow near the bottom. Make the arrows point in the same direction.
Step 2 – Fill a glass with water.
Step 3 – Slowly lower the piece of paper behind the glass of water.
Step 4 – Look through the glass of water and watch what happens.
How Does the Experiment Work?
The scientific concept that is at work in this experiment is called refraction, which means the bending of light. Refraction occurs when light travels from one medium into another (i.e. Air to Water, Water to Air).
Refraction is the bending of light as it passes from one medium into another (i.e. Air to Water, Water to Air).
During the experiment, the light traveled from the image through the air, then through the glass cup into the water, and finally out of the glass cup and into the air once more before it reached our eyes.
This means that the light bends once when it traveled through the glass cup into the water, and then it bends again when it traveled out of the glass cup and into the air. As a result, the light paths cross and the image appears to be flipped horizontally (left/right).
I hope you enjoyed the experiment. Here’s some printable instructions.