Explore Together (indoors): Color in Light

  • "Colors" chart (from Week 1)
  • flashlight
  • plastic bottles (several; clear)
  • prisms
  • water
  • white paper
  • color
  • light (n)
  • prism
  • rainbow

MA Draft Standards:

Physical Science/PS4.D: Compare and sort materials into those that allow all, some, or no light to pass through them. [Cause and Effect]

Head Start Outcomes:

Science Knowledge/Conceptual Knowledge of Natural and Physical Worlds: Observes, describes, and discusses living things and natural processes.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

Science and Technology/Inquiry Skills 3: Identify and use simple tools appropriately to extend observations.
English Language Arts/Language 2: Participate actively in discussions, listen to the ideas of others, and ask and answer relevant questions.
Science and Technology/Living Things and Their Environment 15: Use their senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste to explore their environment using sensory vocabulary.
Science and Technology/Earth and Space Sciences 8: Explore sunlight and shadows and describe the effects of the sun or sunlight.

Explore Together (indoors): Color in Light

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

STEM Key Concepts: There are many different colors; Objects appear to be a different color when viewed throughout a transparent colored material; The color of a light looks different after passing through a transparent colored material

ELA Focus Skills: Follow Directions, Speaking and Listening, Vocabulary

Educator Prep: Fill a bottle with clear water and set it on a windowsill in bright sunlight.

Tell children they are going to continue to explore rainbows and color and light. Demonstrate how to move a bottle of water in the sunlight to make a rainbow. (If it’s a dark day, set the water bottle on a counter and shine a flashlight down through the water at a sharp angle to split the light into colors.)

  • Help children follow where the light is coming into the bottle and where it is leaving the bottle. Ask, What is on the other side? A rainbow! Can you describe what you think causes a rainbow?

Hold a sheet of white paper wherever the rainbow goes. Have children put their hands on the paper so they appear to be holding the rainbow.

  • Trace the rainbow shape with your finger and then have children draw and color their own rainbows.
  • Ask, Can you name the colors in the rainbow? Do you think all rainbows have the same colors? Let’s find out.

Hold up a prism and tell children they are going to explore what happens to the prism when the light hits it. Demonstrate by shining a flashlight through one side of the prism. Have children find the rainbow as the light comes out the other side.

  • Ask, Can you name the colors in this rainbow? Review the colors children have identified in all their rainbows and ask, Do you think all rainbows have the same colors?
  • Allow time for children to freely explore the prism rainbows independently and with partners. Have children draw or record the rainbows they observe.

Reflect and Share Together
Have children share their observations. Allow them to use the materials as they describe their findings. Write any new ideas on the "Colors" chart from Week 1. Ask questions such as,

  • What color paper strips did we use to make rainbows this morning?
  • What colors did we see in the rainbows outside?

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