Sunday, February 13, 2011

Using a Prism to View a Rainbow

The Colors of White Light

This activity is to have students understand that WHITE LIGHT is actually made up of a SPECTRUM of colors.

                 Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet

Too cloudy....had to wait 2 days for the Sun!


  • Prism
  • Flashlight
  • White wall, white ceiling, or white poster board
  • Lots of natural sunlight, flashlight, or overhead projector light


  • Turn on a flashlight.
  • Ask the children a question, "What color is light?"
  • Tell them that we will be doing an activity/experiment to get the answer to our question.
  • Put a prism in a very sunny window or have the students hold up a prism to the natural light or the flashlight, etc.
  • The students should OBSERVE a rainbow on the wall, ceiling, or poster board.
  • Discuss the students' observations.
  • Have students SKETCH a picture of what they observed. 

Explanation: White light hits the glass prism. When the light hits the prism, it is slowed down and bent. When the colors come out the other side, they are bent again. Each color (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) is bent by a different amount and the colors are separated.

More examples of light bending!
Materials needed: prism and straws or crayons
Directions: Place a prism over the straws or crayons. Have Fun!

Explanation: Light travels fastest through air. When light enters the glass prism it slows down and changes direction a little, making the straws or crayons look bent.

Have fun with rainbows!


  1. Awesome! We will be hosting our annual "Rainbow" play date in March and I just dug up my old prism. Thanks for the tips!

    And thank you for stopping by to say "hi" on facebook (at Naturally Educational)!

  2. There is a very good information regarding the prism features that shows the hidden colours in white light that makes rainbow.



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