Heat, Light and Sound - Hide and Seek

Introduction: Have you ever noticed how a straw looks bent when it is placed in a glass of water or clear soda? The bending of light as it travels through different substances is known as refraction.


  • Bowl
  • Penny
  • Water
  • Tape 


  1. Tape a penny to the inside bottom of the bowl.
  2. Place the bowl on a desk or table where you and your friends can stand around the table and observe.
  3. Slowly back away from the bowl until the penny is just out of view. Predict what will happen when water is placed in the bowl.
  4. Have a friend pour water into the bowl.


  1. What did you observe? Explain your answer.
  2. What do you think would happen if vegetable oil were used instead of water? Try it!
utah state board of education This Sci-ber Text was developed by the Utah State Board of Education and Utah educators.