But What Color Is Light?


We see the sky as blue, the sun as yellow and the stars as white, but what is the color of light?

At the beginning of their class on light, most of Roxanne Savage's second grade pupils thought it was yellow, although red, blue and yellow/white were also hypothesized.

"Were going to bend a light ray and you are going to find out what color light is," Savage said, a crystal butterfly in her hand.

The class followed her outside.

Although the day was overcast, she was able to slant sunlight through the crystal so it split the light into a spectrum that shone on the concrete.

"I can see yellow," one pupil said, followed quickly by another who said he saw a rainbow.

"Did you notice that the order of the colors is not changing?" Savage asked.

Back inside their classroom, the children took turns holding the crystal up to the light coming though the window while they learned vocabulary words like prism, refract and spectrum.

The crystal they looked through is called a prism.

"Why do you think you see a rainbow in the sky?" Savage asked.


Second-grade teacher Roxanne Savage

"Because it rains and the sun comes out," said Carol Mares.

"She said exactly what we were thinking about," Savage said. "We took that prism and we broke the light beam into all the colors of the rainbow." That is what raindrops do.

Raindrops or prisms refract light into it's never changing spectrum, starting with red at the bottom and going up through orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

Savage explained that there are actually more colors in the spectrum as they blend into one another, but these six are the basic ones.

Next, pupils painted their own rainbow in watercolors.

Making the prism activity tactile helps children absorb the science unit on the sun and light and the energy from the sun.

"We like to make predictions because then we can go back and compare the hypothesis with what we have learned," Savage said.

For homework, the pupils asked their parents, "Do you know the order of the colors in the rainbow?"

After they brought back an answer they took their artwork home.

The second graders will log the activity in their classroom journals, which they will take home at the end if the year.

-- To reach Carol La Valley call 474-5251 ext. 122 or e-mail clavalley@payson.com.

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