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How to make a Periscope

A cross-curricular STEM kit for 60 pupils to each make their own periscope and discover how it works.

Posted on Wednesday 26th June 2019
A fantastic cross-curricular STEM activity for 60 pupils. Supported by a lesson plan, PowerPoint and pupil worksheet. Once built, students can decorate and personalise their Periscope.

Associated resources (all available under the ‘Supporting Materials’ section here:

  • Periscope lesson plan
  • Periscope PowerPoint
  • Periscope worksheet
  • Periscope worksheet – suggested answers

You will need:

Tools and consumables:

Step 1

Mark and cut out two rectangles of mountboard 7 cm x 10 cm. Mark and cut out two rectangles of mirror 7 cm x 6 cm. Peel off the backing and stick the mirrors to the mountboard as shown. Peel the plastic film off the front of the mirrors.

How to make a Periscope - D&T Stem class kit

Step 2

Carefully cut the periscope box template along each of the solid lines. If you want to paint your template then do it now, and leave it to dry. Use the ruler and one blade of the scissors to score along the dashed lines. You want to score just deeply enough so that the box will fold neatly along the dashed lines.

How to make a Periscope - D&T Stem class kit

Step 3

Fold into a box shape with the score lines on the outside.

How to make a Periscope - D&T Stem class kit

Step 4

Open the box out flat. Use the protractor and ruler to mark four lines 7.5 cm long at 45° as shown. Cut slots roughly 2 mm wide along these lines. These will be used to mount the mirrors.

How to make a Periscope - D&T Stem class kit

Step 5

Turn the box over. Fold down the four narrow flaps and tape in position. This is to reinforce the ends of the slots when the mirrors are fitted. Don’t block the slots with tape.

How to make a Periscope - D&T Stem class kit

Step 6

Fold the box up along the fold lines in the order shown. The dashed lines should be on the outside. Tape up all the seams with transparent sticky tape. Be careful not to block the slots with tape. (N.B. If you have painted the periscope you could glue up the seams instead; the sticky tape doesn’t stick as well to paint.)

How to make a Periscope - D&T Stem class kit

Step 7

Slide the two mirror units into the slots. If the slots are too narrow then cut them a little wider. One mirror should be facing the rectangular hole, and the other mirror facing the round hole. Tape the ends of the mountboard to the box to hold the mirror units in place.

How to make a Periscope - D&T Stem class kit

Step 8

Decorate your periscope. You could glue on the foam leaves to camouflage it. You could also use other decorations such as felt tip pen, paint, left-over wrapping paper etc.

How to make a Periscope - D&T Stem class kit

Step 9

Try out your periscope!

How to make a Periscope - D&T Stem class kit

With thanks to Caroline Alliston, Technology for Fun, for writing this blog.

Caroline Alliston, is a professional engineer and technical author with a degree from Cambridge and twenty four years experience in industry. Whilst on a career break to spend more time with her two boys, she started a club at their school to enthuse children about science and engineering. Before long there were more children on the waiting list than in the actual club!

Caroline now spends her time running hugely popular workshops for teachers, pupils, home educated children, holiday clubs, Scout groups etc. Unable to be in three places at once, she has written the Technology for Fun series of books incorporating her favourite and most successful projects, to give even more children the opportunity to have fun making things that really work.