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Activity: Colors of the Light Spectrum

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:

NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:

Materials

  • Table 9.1
  • Flashlight
  • Blue filter
  • Rubber band
  • Small colored objects (white, red, and blue)
  • Cardboard shoebox with sealed lid, black inside
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Additional small objects of various colors (optional)

Procedure

  1. Make a “black box” for viewing your objects.
    1. Cut a small viewing hole (3 cm diameter) on one side of the shoebox.
    2. Cut an additional opening onto one side of the cardboard box perpendicular to the viewing hole that is the diameter of the flashlight (Fig. 9.6).

<p><strong>Fig. 9.6.</strong> A “black box” is used to visualize objects of different colors.</p><br />


 

  1. Predict what color each of the objects will appear when you shine the flashlight on them in the black box. Record your predictions and the reasoning for your predictions in Table 9.1.
     
  2. Predict what color each of the objects will appear when you shine blue light on them in the black box. Record your predictions and the reasoning for your predictions in Table 9.1.
     
  3. Shine the flashlight into the box.
     
  4. Place the white object into the box and close the lid.
     
  5. Use the viewing hole to observe the color of the object in the box. Record your observations in Table 9.1.
     
  6. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for the red and blue objects.
     
  7. Place the blue filter over the flashlight. Hold the filter onto the flashlight with a rubber band.
     
  8. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for the red, white, and blue objects using the flashlight with the blue filter.
     
  9. (Optional) Look at additional small objects that are different colors under white and blue light. Make sure to record your color predictions and observations.

 

Activity Questions: 
  1. Were all the objects the same color with and without the blue filter? If they appeared different, hypothesize why.
     
  2. Think about viewing objects in the ocean. What do you think the flashlight represents in this model? What does the blue filter represent?
     
  3. What are some of the limitations of this model? How do you think you can improve it?
     
  4. Many fish, especially those that are nocturnal or live in deeper water, are red. What advantages do you think being red gives these fish in the deep ocean?
Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.