The STEM Way

The STEM way is a learning and education blog for kids with STEM(Science,Technology,Engineering,Math) Lessons, Experiments, Worksheets and Quizzes for children.

The STEM Way

How do mirrors work?

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Have you ever noticed how you can see your reflection in some objects and not on others. You can see yourself in mirrors, in a phone screen, on even a shiny car. Why do some objects act as mirrors and some do not?

Free stock photo of wood, glass, vintage, room

Lets learn more about what these mirrors are and how they work?

Do you see things around you better when there is light or when it is dark? Yes, when there is light.

We are able to see objects around us because of light! Light falls on objects and reflects back into to us and we are able to see the objects.

Three things can happen when light falls on a object: ‘

  • It can pass through (The object is transparent),
  • it can be completely absorbed  and disappear (The object is opaque)
  • It can reflect back again (The object is reflective)

We are able to see the object depending on how much light is reflected back to us.

What is a mirror?

For any surface to act as a mirror it needs two properties:

  1. It has to reflect back all of the light that falls on it.
  2. it has to be perfectly smooth.

When you look into a mirror light from your face falls on the mirror and reflects back perfectly to you and you can see yourself in the mirror!

Photo of Woman Looking at the Mirror

What is a mirror made of?

A mirror starts of as clear glass. One side of the glass is painted with silver (or polished aluminium) This silver paint transforms the clear glass into a mirror.

When light falls on the glass the silver reflects the light back to us allowing us to see our reflection in it.

Watch this video to see how mirrors are made!

Take a blank piece of paper. It looks white and smooth. Why doesn’t it act like a mirror? That is because a paper looks smooth but in reality it has a lot of bumps, if you look at a piece of paper under a microscope you can see that a paper is really bumpy!

Curved reflections

Sometimes if the surface is smooth and reflective but it is curved or humped and we can see that our reflection gets distorted.

Chrome Ball

If you are looking at yourself in a calm pool of water and suddenly throw a stone in, the water ripples also shakes your reflection.

Free stock photo of water, motion, circle, reflection


Do you know how mirrors work?


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ACTIVITY: Spring worksheet! Try to draw the same patterns and make mirror images of the eggs.

Ages: 5-6

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