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Peer Review

Diverging Mirror Images (Physics)



Overall Rating:

3 stars
Content Quality: 2 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 3 stars
Reviewed: Jul 25, 2002 by Physics
Overview: This applet illustrates image formation by a single mirror. The user can vary the object distance.
Learning Goals: To study the implications of the mirror equation for paraxial rays, and to help understand image formation in simple mirrors
Target Student Population: Secondary, Lower Level Undergrad
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None
Type of Material: Java Applet, Simulation
Recommended Uses: Lecture demo, homework aid
Technical Requirements: None noted

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 2 stars
Strengths: This applet draws a bundle of rays that illustrate how to solve the mirror equation graphically by highlighting the rays commonly use for graphical construction. The applet also gives numerical values for object and image distance that can be checked against the predictions of the mirror equation.
Concerns: Nice looking but very limited. Only the object distance can be changed.
Distances are denoted by x in the applet and by d in the accompanying text. There are some spelling errors.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: Good use of color. Object distance is easily changed, and effect is immediate. The applet is effective in conveying the implications of the mirror equation, i.e. under what circumstance are real or virtual images formed and how does the image distance behave as a function of the object distance.
Concerns: Users can't change f (although this is not a severe problem when used as a lecture/demo since instructor can discuss scaling). There is no discussion of magnification, or data to directly compute it.

This is part of a set of applets that also cover converging and diverging lenses. The set would be more complete if there was also an applet for a converging mirror.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: Simple to use for class demo.
Concerns: Usability is very limited.