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    In this activity, students use a sheet of acetate to make a transparent, four-sided pyramid. The pyramid’s sides act as four mirrors, situated at 45° angles on a smartphone or tablet screen, and create a hologram-like projector. When used with a holographic animation video, moving 3D images (holograms) appear inside the pyramid.

    The activity is an ideal way to explore the reflection of light, specifically specular reflection – when light reflects at the same angle as it hits a surface.

    In addition to exploring fundamentals of light, the activity is ideal for cross-curricular learning. It supports the achievement objectives in technological practice and technological knowledge in the technology component of the New Zealand Curriculum.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • use a template to construct an open pyramid
    • use the four reflective surfaces on the pyramid to view a 3D display
    • begin to use scientific terms including ‘reflection’ and ‘angle’
    • make changes to the pyramid (and local environment) as needed to improve the specular reflection and 3D display.

    Equipment required includes:

    • acetate sheet(s) – for example, overhead projector transparency or clear binding cover (available from stationery supply stores)
    • copies of the template (provided in the download document)
    • smartphone or tablet
    • access to YouTube video
    • scissors
    • felts
    • rulers.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    Light and sight – introduction explores the basics of light, how we see and how we perceive the world around us. It links to numerous resources that may be helpful in answering questions stimulated by this activity or for providing background information about how the hologram projector (and our eyes) work.

    This activity is used in the citizen science unit plan The power of light.

    Useful links

    Visit the ‘Explainthatstuff’ website for an article on holograms – how they are made, what they are used for and how they work.

    View a compilation of HoloQuad holographic videos in this YouTube video.

      Published 28 March 2019 Referencing Hub articles