Colorful tubes turned students toward the sky Thursday at McNary Heights Elementary as fifth-graders tested newly crafted kaleidoscopes.

A kaleidoscope works by bouncing light through the mirrors in the tube. The reflection of the colored items in the opposite end — which can include pebbles, bits of glass or other objects — creates intricate patterns as the tube is rotated. With the help of their teachers and volunteers from the business community, about 90 students participated in the project, creating a kaleidoscope with beads, mirrors and PVC pipe before decorating the outside of the toy.

JM Eagle, represented by Will Clark and Shannon Goldenstein, and Elmer’s Irrigation,   represented at the school Thursday by owner Lou Lyons, donated the PVC pipe for the project while Smitty’s Ace Hardware contributed Plexiglass and mirrors.

“We sponsor Little League, football, basketball, the Umatilla Fair, anything we can for the community,” Clark said. “This is where we have our plant, and we want to support our local community.”

John Armentrout and Mike Hug, both of Smitty’s Ace Hardware, were on-hand Thursday to help students craft the project.

“I’ve been doing this (off and on) for 10 years. We think it’s a great thing they do for the kids,” Armentrout said. “You can put anything in the end of a kaleidoscope — beads, stones, flower petals. I give them the basics and the kids go nuts with the ideas. Once they start putting them together, there’s no limit to what they can do. They’re very creative.”

Each of the volunteers said they hoped the students enjoyed the projects, and the students crafted an extra kaleidoscope for their business teachers.

“It was fun,” Clark said. “We’re looking forward to next year.”


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