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STEM projects for kids at home: How to make a homemade Periscope with cardboard

Hi there!!!

Welcome to another episode of learning about easy science experiments on your #1 STEM Platform Makersgeneration.

Today's topic is about making a fun device we can use to an eye on something, even if the object is not within our direct line of sight. Wooah....! This device is known as a "Periscope". If you want to learn how to make a device that can come in handy when next you play hide-and-seek with your friends - then keep reading as we learn how to make this together.

Before we dive in deeper, let's learn a bit more about what a Periscope is and what it is used for.

What is a Periscope?

A periscope is an instrument that can for observation over, around, or through an object, even when there is an obstacle or condition that prevents direct line-of-sight observation from an observer's current position.

The simplest form of a periscope consists of an outer case with mirrors at each end set parallel to each other at a 45° angle. More complex periscopes using prisms or advanced fiber optics instead of mirrors.

How it works:

A periscope works based on the principles of reflection of light. The key components of the periscope are two small mirrors placed at a 45-degree angle to the enclosure.

  • When light (reflected from an object) enters one end of the periscope, it reaches the first mirror positioned at a 45-degree angle.

  • The first mirror reflects the incoming light at a 90-degree angle. This means that the light changes direction and travels through the tube horizontally.

  • The reflected light from the first mirror then reaches the second mirror, which is also positioned at a 45-degree angle.

  • This second mirror reflects the light again which exits the periscope through the open end, allowing you to see the reflected image without being in the direct line of sight.

Uses of Periscope

Periscopes are being used in the following areas:

  • Submarines

  • Military Vehicles

  • Aerospace Industry

  • Security and Surveillance

  • Search and Rescue

  • Observation Towers

  • Underwater Research

  • Photography and Film-making

Now that we've learned about the workings of a periscope, we can now proceed to learn how to make a periscope by ourselves.

Materials we'll need

  • Cardboard paper.

  • Old CD.

  • Marker pen.

  • Pencil.

  • Ruler.

  • Scissors.

  • Glue.

Steps to make a homemade periscope

With our needed materials in place, let's dive right into making!!

Step 1:

Cut the cardboard into the following sizes:

  • 20x4 cm (2)

  • 16x4 cm (2)

  • 4x4 cm (2)

Step 2:

Place one of the 20x4 cm pieces of cardboard, lying flat on your work surface. At both ends, secure the two 4x4 cm cardboards vertically with glue.

Step 3:

Take one of the 16x4 cm cardboard and secure it vertically to the end of the 20x4 cm cardboard closer to you - with one end joint to the edge of the 4x4 cm cardboard to your right (leaving an opening to your left)

Step 4:

Take the other 16x4 cm cardboard and secure it vertically to the end of the 20x4 cm cardboard away from you - with one end joint to the edge of the 4x4 cm cardboard to your left (leaving an opening to your right).

Step 5:

With your marker and ruler, measure out two squares on the CD then cut them out with your scissors.

Step 6:

Place the two cut-out CD pieces at the corners of your cardboard tube at an angle of 45 degrees with the reflective sides facing each other.

Step 7:

Cover the top with the remaining 20x4 cm cardboard and secure with glue.

Your homemade periscope is now ready for testing!!!

Video demo:


You can use two small square mirrors for clearer reflections.

That will be all for today!!! Thanks for following to the end of making kids periscope and I hope we all learned something new.

Check below for more science at home for kids projects you'll enjoy doing:

STEM Summer camp in DC and Maryland

You are looking for a nice 2024 summer camp for this year for your children focusing on STEM (Learn how to code, make robots, use 3D printing, droning and more) in the Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia area. Come join us in Takoma Park Maryland where your children can learn and have fun.

Check the following link for more details and the dates:

Online after-school focused on STEM

You and your children are looking for nice activities to have fun and learn new things and skills. Come join us for online classes such as:

  • Python coding for kids and teens

  • Coding for elementary school students

  • Make video games

  • Electronics

  • Digital modeling (Create cars, rockets, rings, etc) for 3D printing and much more with the following link: Online after-schools 

Other cute things to make and hand-crafts for kids (tutorials)

If you are looking for more cool Arduino and STEM project ideas to do with your kids, take a look at these other activities:

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See you very soon.