Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Science and Art: Color

Last week, we started our color study with an art project as basic as you can get: Think of something brightly colored. Choose colors from the crayon box and draw it. We have two beautiful drawings of rainbows and a paper with circles and L-E-V-I written all over hanging on the fridge.

We read about wavelengths of light in The Visual Encyclopedia of Science (DK).
Explanations of light and color online:
Visible light waves at the NASA website for kids
How Are Rainbows Formed? at Science Kids
Lightwaves and Color at The Physics Classroom (for older children or for adults)

Next, a color wheel study. Kid Zone Science has some nice material, including The Color Wheel, a colorful explanation of primary and secondary colors and a color wheel worksheet.

Today's study, a simple science study of color: Coffee filter colors

You need a coffee filter, markers, an eyedropper and water. A paper plate, thick paper towel, or baking sheet is nice too, as it keeps the inks from bleeding onto your work surface. Color large dots or thick lines of single colors on your coffee filter. Drop water on the ink dots with the eyedropper. It's fun to watch the colors wick across the filter, so take some time to observe. Set aside the filter to dry. Once it's dry, observe what's happened to the colors, especially at the edges. We discovered that our colored inks separated into different colors. We used Crayola markers and they worked dandy. The best color markers for the experiment: Brown, which separated into orange-pink-purple-blue, and green, which spread into a vivid blue edged with the faintest line of yellow.

The fine young gents recorded the results in their science notebooks using this form. It's a great all-purpose science form for young students. Students to make a prediction, observe, and come to a conclusion based on the observation, which, when you think about it, is the nuts and bolts of a science experiment.

A color study lends itself to a blending of art and science, and since we had all of the materials on the table we ended with coffee filter butterflies. Color with marker on a coffee filter. Use lots of bright colors! Drop water droplets onto the colors with the eyedropper and set aside the coffee filter to dry. Once the coffee filter is dry, scrunch the filter into a decorated doll clothespin. Add pipe cleaner antennae or tie a ribbon around the top to hang your butterfly.

Next week's art studies:
Color mixing and the Color Wheel from Enchanted Learning
Actual color mixing, and creating color wheels based upon these lesson plans: Color Wheel and Twelve Color Wheel

Upcoming science experiments and notebook entries:
Catch a Rainbow (also from Kid Zone Science)
Spinning Color Wheels from Crayola
A drawing of light wavelengths copied from our science encyclopedia
Bird in a Cage at Exploratorium's Science Snacks
The Science of Light at the Annenberg/CB Math and Science Project Teacher's Lab
Create a rainbow with the prism we've got stashed around here somewhere, and maybe with the hose too if we get a day that's sunny and warm enough.

Color, Ruth Heller (This is a great explanation of color in printing and as a general color study. Fantastic!)
Mouse Paint, Ellen Stoll Walsh (Lovely intro to color mixing for younger readers.)
White Rabbit's Color Book, Alan Baker (Another wonderful color mixing book for younger kids.)
Color Me Science (Experiment With Science), New Book of Popular Science. (On request from the library.)


Sara said...

"since we had all the materials on the table" ... That is such a homeschooler-type statement, and I love it!

Irie said...

This sounds like fun!! I did a chemistry experiment similar to the coffee filter ones. You noticed that the brown pen separated into a few different colors? Well, we were asked to test four different pens, and the way the ink wicked across the paper when wet was unique to each pen. Using this method of evaluation, we had to identify the "culprit pen" that wrote the "threatening letter."