This lesson contains three student activities: Rainbows, Refraction with Prisms, and What Color Is It?
Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - 6th Grade
Standard 6 Objective 2
Describe how light can be produced, reflected, refracted, and separated into visible light of various colors.
For each student:
- Rainbow worksheet (pdf)
- Book on color and light
- Light or lamp with bare
- Diffraction glasses
- Colored pencils or
- 1/2 sheet of art paper
- Red, yellow, and blue
Refraction with Prisms
What Color Is it?
Bagged for the group:
- Red apple
- Green leaf
- Yellow lemon
- White square of paper
- Blue square of paper
- Light and Color , by Gary Gibson; ISBN 1-56294-616-1
- Light Fantastic , by Philip Watson; ISBN 0-688-00975-1
- Color Analyzers: Grades 5-8 , by Cary Sneider, Alan Gould, Cheryll
Hawthorne (GEMS: Great Explorations in Math and Science);
Background For Teachers:
Visible light is made up of different wavelengths, with each color
having its own unique wavelength. The seven colors of the visible light
spectrum are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROY G.
BIV). (There is ongoing dissention as to whether indigo is really a color
or not. This would make a good student research project.) As light hits an
object, some light is absorbed and some is reflected back. The color of an
object is the color of the light it reflects. Grass looks green because
when light hits, it the blades absorb all the colors of light except green,
which it reflects back to our eyes. Objects that appear white reflect back
all colors of light waves; black objects absorb all colors of light waves
and don’t reflect any colors back to our eyes.
White light contains all the colors of light. The colors can be
separated when a bright white light is shone through a prism at an angle.
Short wavelengths, such as blue and violet, are bent more than longer
wavelengths, like red, so the colors always separate into the same pattern.
In nature, people have noticed the color separation during or after a
rainstorm or from a sprinkler. The primary colors of light are red, green
and blue (Roy G Biv’s initials), which are different than the primary
colors of pigment (yellow, magenta, cyan). Light of all colors can be
made from these primary light colors, and when all colors of light are
added together, white light is produced.
When colored filters are used, only certain wavelengths pass through;
others are absorbed. When a red filter is used over a light, only red light
passes through, and objects appear either in shades of red or black.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning
Invitation to Learn
Continue with light labs. You may want to review information
Continue with light labs. It is important to discuss what was
learned in each center when students are finished and have recorded
their findings. Like scientists, students share their discoveries and
include observable evidence proving what they learned. Allow time for
students to challenge each other if a disagreement arises so that the
properties of light are understood. Sometimes it takes the final
discussion and summarizing of observations before the concept is
- Using Color Analyzers: Grades 5-8, make hidden pictures where
students can only see the picture if looking through a different
colored filter. Make secret messages by writing the message they
want someone to see with a blue colored pencil. Using a red
pencil, they write letters, numbers, etc. over the blue so the blue
message is no longer readable. However, when they look through
a red filter, only the blue message appears.
- Have students trace white circles that have pie-shaped divisions
on them. Students may experiment with coloring different colors
in different fractional amounts to see if they will reflect white or
black when spun around. The circle can be taped to the end of one
beater of a hand mixer, then the mixer turned on. Students can
compare the colors they saw with their prediction.
- Have students use fine-tipped markers (red, yellow, blue, and
black) and try pointillist painting, using small dots of these
primary colors to create a picture. Students could also use a
magnifying glass to look closely at a television screen when it is
turned on. They should see lines of very small red, green, and
- Students who struggle with written language can be encouraged to
draw what they have discovered, then label key things you want
them to remember.
- Have students make a graphic organizer that includes what they
know about light and color. Key words to put in the organizer are:
energy, electromagnetic spectrum, how light travels, reflection,
refraction, and colors of light. Students add what they know about
each of these. (This could be a prewriting activity for a reflections
- Students write a reflections paper containing two to three
paragraphs about what they have learned. List several key things
you expect them to learn, such as energy, reflection, refraction,
angle of incidence, and colors of light.
- After completing the heat, light, and sound lessons, give each
student or group a Heat, Light, and Sound Venn Diagram. As they complete it, help them compare the different
properties of each, and discover the similarities and differences.
Created Date :
Nov 17 2004 08:52 AM