June 28, 2017 by WittyLibrarian
Program Title: Color Science
Target Age Range: Grades 1-3
Program Length: 60 minutes
Brief Description: Explore the science behind color.
2 clear glass containers, where one can fit inside the other
4 binder clips
Cut out cardstock Color Wheel Templates or create Color Wheel templates out of cardboard
Blue, Red and Yellow Markers
Handkerchiefs or small squares of white cloth
Computer with access to a projector and internet
Print and cut out Color Wheel Templates on cardstock, or create your own Color Wheels out of cardboard. The cardboard is sturdier, but harder to cut, and the interior circles will need to be traced onto the cardboard and outlined in black.
If you choose to purchase lengths of cloth, rather than handkerchiefs, the cloth will need to be cut into pieces for the kids to use.
Introduction to the concept of color. Annenberg Lerner’s wesbite has two excellent resources for explaining the science of color: The Science of The Science of Light and The Science of Light: Light in Color
Online color mixing activity from Annenbery Lerner’s Science Mad of Dots
Create a demo Laminar Flow, from Steve Spangler Science, and use it to discuss additional color mixing.
Create color mixing wheels, as described on Steve Spangler Science
Tie Dye activity based on Steve Spangler Science.
As a group, we went through the activity several times, attempting to create the correct colors. The game also provides an excellent introduction as to how this particular color mixing activity works.
While discussing the science behind the Laminar Flow project, we created one in front of the group as a demo. Because it is a relatively small demonstration, we had the kids gather around the demonstration table to see the activity up close.
We provided the children with a cut out Color Wheel Template, and they colored their wheels themselves. To poke holes in the wheels, we used pencils to push a small hole into the circle.
Each child was given a handkerchief to color. We went around with eye droppers and dropped rubbing alcohol on the marker under the supervision of the kids.
What we would do differently:
The Laminar Flow project is wonderful in theory, but we had difficulty in making a working model. We had some success, but it was a very frustrating process. The program can stand on its own without this project. If filling time is needed, an additional tie-dye project would be an ample filler, or even a second color wheel using different colors. We also could have spent 20 minutes alone on the Online Color Mixing Activity. The kids were fascinated in how just three colors could essentially create a rainbow.
Adaptation for older/younger audience:
For a younger audience, both the color wheel and the tie-dye project would work well in an environment where caregivers are present. The color wheel is fun and relatively simple, but tying and threading the string requires a dexterity that some children younger than the 2nd graders we originally planned this for- might have. The tie-dye aspect would be very popular, but again, an adult should handle the eyedropper filled with rubbing alcohol.
All the activities would work for an older, tween audience, but we would definitely recommend having more than just a handkerchief for the tweens to color. While we had trouble with the Laminar Flow project, using it with an older crowd would allow them an interesting opportunity to help troubleshoot any potential issues you might encounter when trying to make the demo.