Science is fascinating if you have time to make experiments that can teach you a thing or two about how everything around us actually works. The best part is that you don’t have to ruin your entire house if you stick to simple but cool optic experiments that both adults and children can engage in. All you will require is a bit of patience and desire to experiment as much as possible.
A very fun experiment that you can do with your kids is a small demonstration of how to reflect the light properly. You can use a stream of water in order to capture and bend the laser beam. Basically, the experiment uses the same principle used for the fiber optic cable. If you prepare everything beforehand, you can invite young children to play along as long as you keep an eye on them and you carefully explain the instructions.
In order to get better results, you should dim the room. The only fancy equipment that you need for conducting this optics experiment is the laser pointer. You can purchase several units if you’re interested in getting your own home lab. They don’t cost much and you can purchase them from supermarkets or online stores.
If you’re wondering what you need to bend the light with water, the list of products is quite short and easy to find. Besides the laser pointer, you’ll also need a stand for this device or at least something that will hold it firmly. Plus, you shouldn’t forget about the rubber band, a clear empty soda bottle that has the cap, some water and milk, a permanent marker, a metal skewer, a piece of masking tape, a flame, and a sink.
The instructions are simple to follow. First, fill the bottle with water and then pour a few drops of milk to get a cloudy color. If you like, you can mix powdered milk or even corn starch for similar results. Continue the experiment by wrapping the rubber band around the laser pointer so that the power button is pressed continuously.
Try to set the laser pointer in a horizontal position at about 4 inches from the counter. Place it near the bottle and adjust the device until you are able to see the line of light that passes through the milky liquid.
Using the marker, make a dot in the area where the light beam touches one side of the bottle, typically the one that is far away from the laser. Now, pour out the entire water from the bottle.
Take the metal skewer and heat it into the flame until it gets really hot. With the tip, try to melt a small hole in the bottle and cover it with a small section of masking tape. Place the cap on and put the bottle next to the sink.
Set up the laser pointer and aim it to the hole of the bottle. Don’t forget to take the tape off because you want to see when the light hits that hole. Simply loosen the cap until the water stream starts pouring into the sink. You can adjust the laser pointer until you can easily see the light in the stream of water.
Another facile optic experiment relates to the simple spectrum of sunlight. You only require a 60-degree prism, a needle, and some sunlight to catch the spectrum. Try your best and hold the needle in one arm and the prism in the other. The needle should be at an arm’s length away from your eyes. Moreover, the needle must be parallel to the edge of the prism and quite illuminated by the sun. Gently twist the prism until you can see the needle refracting using the prism.