#111. Breaking Light

Science, level: Elementary
Posted by Nikki Ray (janray@cc.memphis.edu).
University of Memphis, Memphis
Materials Required: shallow baking dish, mirror, flashlight, water, heavy white paper
Activity Time: 10-15 minutes
Concepts Taught: Discovering that white light can be broken into colors

Nikki Ray
ELED 3261
Science, Level K-2

Materials: a shallow glass baking dish, water, a small mirror, a powerful flashlight,
heavy white paper
Opening Questions: How do you think light can be broken? What do you think will
happen when we break the light?
Exposing Beliefs: Have students individually write their predictions and explain why.
Encourage students to share their predictions and explanations with their group
members. Have them pick someone to share this data with the whole class.
Confronting Beliefs: Fill the baking dish halfway with water. Help the students rest the
mirror in place. Ask a volunteer to hold up a sheet of white cardboard or construction
paper at the end of the baking dish opposite the mirror. Ask another student to shine
the flashlight at the part of the mirror that is under the water. Guide the student to
experiment with the position of the light until a small rainbow is reflected onto the
white paper.
Accommodating Concept: Based on your observations, what can you say to explain
what happened to the light? Who were the different colors created from the white
light? Where else have you seen rainbows?

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