Reflection Drawing: A Fun Physics, Math, and Art Project

Looking for a quick STEAM activity that’s easy on the budget? Try Reflection Drawing! With a just few simple supplies, kids will explore the science (physics) of sight and the math of symmetry. Plus they’ll have some art fun at the same time. It’s a great activity for centers or stations, too!

Reflection drawing is a budget-friendly STEAM project. Kids will explore science of sight, symmetry math, plus art.

The Amazing Math and Science Behind Reflection Drawing

This drawing project works because of math and science! Your challenge is to draw the missing half of an image that is vertically symmetrical. Vertically symmetrical shapes and images can have a line drawn through the middle from top to bottom that divides it into two equal, reflected halves.

In order to draw the missing half, you’ll use a piece of glass or plastic to reflect the image to the blank side. This works because of how our eyes see and the physical makeup of glass and plastic.

We see objects when light is reflected off of an object. That light enters our eyes and passes through the retina where the light is turned into signals that travel to our brain. Most of the light near transparent glass and plastic passes through the material, but not all of the light. A small percentage of the light rays reflect off the material’s surface.
When you look at the dog picture, light is reflected back to our eyes and some to the upright glass or plastic. We see a faint reflection of the image on the glass which we can then use to trace the image on the other side of the paper.

Reflection Drawing Supplies Needed

This project uses some simple supplies you can find around the house or classroom. Plus we’ve created an adorable dog worksheet to help you get started with reflection drawing. To have the printable and instructions emailed to you, simply fill out the form below.

Reflection Drawings 1360x900


Terms and Conditions checkbox is required.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
  • Reflections drawing dog worksheet or paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • 8” x 10” or
  • 5” x 7” picture frame glass or plastic or large clear plastic food container
  • Scissors if using a food container
  • Flat surface like a table or clipboard
  • Sticky tack or Model Magic clay
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils (optional)

How to Do a Reflection Drawing Using the Dog Worksheet

  1. Remove the glass or plastic from the picture frame or cut the flat portion of the plastic from the food container.
  2. Stand up the piece of plastic or glass along the line next to the dog so that it is perpendicular to the paper. Secure in place with clay or sticky tack if desired or hold it with your non-drawing hand.
  3. Look at the left side of the glass or plastic and notice the reflection of the dog on the blank right side of the paper.
  1. Trace along the reflection line onto the blank side of the paper.
  2. Remove the glass or plastic and connect any lines that didn’t connect in the center.
  3. Color in the drawing if desired.

How to Do Reflection Drawing with Your Own Image

  1. Try this technique with your own image! You can trace the missing half or the whole image.
  2. Pick a photograph of something that you would like to draw.
  3. Place the photo next to a blank sheet of paper and prop the glass or plastic between the photo and the blank paper.
  4. Trace the image onto the blank paper and color in with markers, crayons, or colored pencils.

More STEAM Drawing Ideas

Looking for more budget-friendly ways to add STEAM to your day? Drawing for the win! Check out some of our favorites:

Variable Drawing helps kids learn about one of the basic building blocks in both math and coding, the variable. Plus it makes for a fun and silly drawing session! It comes with a free printable full of drawing prompts, too.

This mega list of STEAM-Filled Drawing Activities has even more great ideas to add to your day!

Even More STEAM Fun to Add to Your Day

Reflection drawings are a sneak peek into STEAM Explorers Physics!

Dig into how and why physics makes life interesting with hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math with STEAM Explorers Physics. From forces and waves to magnets and electricity, this unit study covers the topics you need.

The kids will love designing dinosaurs, exploring the rainforest with a building challenge, making fern art, snacking on nature’s cereal, and so much more! You'll love the helpful standards-based learning, printables, and tools that make STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, & math) exploration easy!

Reflection Drawings 1360x900


Terms and Conditions checkbox is required.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Scroll to Top