Alternate Activity 2: Making a Rainbow
Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A clear plastic box, filled halfway with water
- A hand mirror that will fit inside the box
- Thick black construction paper or poster board, scissors, and tape
- A white card
Preparation for Activity
- Plan to do this activity in a room you can completely darken.
- If the group is large, obtain multiple clear plastic boxes, mirrors, and flashlights and set up multiple stations.
- To save time, prepare the flashlight(s):
- Cut out the shape of the face of the flashlight (to block light) from the black paper.
- Make a small slit in the cutout paper.
- Tape the paper securely to the face of the flashlight, to block the light.
Description of Activity
Lead the participants to do this experiment:
- Set the mirror inside the clear plastic box, leaning against one end.
- Place the mirror in the box, leaning against an end.
- Darken the room. Then, turn on the flashlight, and aim it at the mirror, keeping the flashlight outside of the box.
- Hold the white card so reflected light coming from the mirror can shine on it.
Make sure everyone has an opportunity to see a rainbow on the white card.
Explain: When light travels through water, the light beam slows down and bends. The seven different colors that make up the rainbow all travel at different speeds and therefore each color bends at a slightly different angle. The mirror reflects the different colors so that you see a rainbow, or spectrum, of the seven separated colors.
Ask: “Is a rainbow a miracle, even though it is something we can make ourselves? Why, or why not?”