Lighthouse Lens

A large red and blue cube frame that has blue and orange banners running from top to bottom with different information on each. There are orange and yellow objects hanging from the frame.

Fresnel lenses bend light to make objects appear larger or smaller.

How it works

Look through a Fresnel lens to observe how light refracts within the lens.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • Look through the Fresnel lens. What do you see?
  • Where can you find this type of lens?


This Fresnel lens is made up of specially shaped circular tracks cut into a flat piece of plastic. A lens is used to bend light and make things appear larger, smaller, closer or further away! The curved surface of a lens (rather than the glass inside) bends light. A Fresnel lens can be made by cutting out sections of the curved surface of a normal lens and rearranging them to make a flat lens.

Finding the science in your world

This special Fresnel lens is used in traffic lights, overhead projectors, lighthouses, marine buoys, theatre lights and brake lights on cars and trucks.