In this project, the children are exposed to symmetry in the familiar form of a kaleidoscope. As an extra bonus, this project recycles materials which otherwise might be thrown away.
35mm black plastic film canister (usually free at camera stores)
cardboard from cereal box
high gloss clear plastic (ex: salad bar container, toy packaging, or overhead projector transparency)
black construction paper
matte board (scraps are free at frame stores)
margarine tub lid (translucent kind)
set of permanent markers
awl or knitting needle
Cut three 7/8" x 1 7/8" rectangles each of the cardboard, plastic, and construction paper. Cut one rectangle of the same size out of the matte board.
Use the awl or knitting needle to puncture an eye hole in the center bottom of the film canister. The hole should be about 1/4" in diameter.
Slide the three rectangles of cardboard into the canister so they form a triangle. Do the same with the construction paper, then the plastic. You should have a three-layered triangle with the cardboard as the outermost layer and the plastic the innermost. Set aside.
Use the markers to make a colorful design on the outside of the margarine lid.
Push the straight pin through the center of the lid then stick it into the edge of the 7/8" side of one of the pieces of matte board. Slide the matte board into the film canister along side one of the cardboard pieces.
Hold the kaleidoscope up to the light and slowly turn the wheel. The three mirrors symmetrically reflect the pattern on the lid which produces the kaleidoscope effect.