Monday, March 30, 2009

Color Study

We're winding up our color studies. It's been a fascinating and motivating subject for the fine young gents. Which isn't surprising when you think about it. Color is immediate and relevant. It's something we experience every moment. A color study combines, overlaps and intersects art and science, and the experiments are simple, fun and accessible. And memorable. The fine young gents often talk about color in terms of science and art, remarking at the red light waves that must be bouncing off a shirt, for example. On the way home from a visit to Grandpa's, kindergarten gent stared out at the brown hills and remarked, "Mom, I can't see any tertiary colors out there."

At the beginning of spring break, we spent some school time doing color experiments. We're moving on to an astronomy study this spring, but we didn't want to miss some of the fun activities we'd seen online and in our experiment books, so we spent a fair amount of time playing with color.

Catch a Rainbow from Kidzone Science:

You need:
A shallow bowl
Food color--red, blue and yellow
Dish soap
Printable recording sheet (optional)

Drop food color at the edges of the bowl as shown above. Add 2-3 drops of dish soap to the middle of the bowl. Sit back and watch the colors swirl and combine.
Then complete the record sheet:

Is Black Black?
(Pictured in notebook above.)

You need:
Black markers, 2-3 different brands
A coffee filter
Water and an eyedropper
A tray or dish

Cut the coffee filter into strips. Choose one brand of black marker, and color a big black dot at the edge of a coffee filter strip. Do the same with the other black markers until you have a dotted strip for each brand of marker. Set the strips in your tray or dish and drip water on the black dots until they are saturated. Make sure your strips are not touching so that the colors don't bleed onto one another. Wait for the colors to wick up the filter. What colors do you see? Are the colors used by each brand different? The same?

Color Filters

You need:
Colored cellophane, different colors
Flashlight (optional)

Using your markers, draw a rainbow (or other colorful picture) on your paper. Place different colors of cellophane over your picture. What happens to the colors? Now take your cellophane and place it over different colored objects in the room. What happens to those colors?

For more cellophane fun, take the colored cellophane and a flashlight into the closet or other dark place. Shine the flashlight through the cellophane. (Moms: This kept my fine young gents entertained for an hour.)

Make a Rainbow

You need: A prism and bright light

Find a prism and experiment with making rainbows in the sunlight.

Color Mixing

You need:
4-6 glasses or bowls
Food color--red, yellow, blue
Eyedroppers, spoons, measuring cups
Tray and towels or rags

Place the glasses and bowls on a tray. Fill three glasses or bowls with water. Add several drops of red, yellow or blue food color to the glasses so that you've got one glass of each color. Set out the the colored water and extra glasses or bowls for mixing. Use the spoons, measuring cups and eyedroppers to mix colors! Make sure to have a rag handy to clean up spills!

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