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Activity

Rainbow with water and flashlight

Summary: 
Shine a flashlight through water at just the right angle to make a (subtle) rainbow.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Physics: Light and Sound (1)
Earth/Space: Weather, Seasons, Climate Change (K, 1, 4, 7)
Science topic (2005 curriculum connection): 
Earth and Space Science: Surroundings (grade K)
Earth and Space Science: Daily and Seasonal Changes (grade 1)
Earth and Space Science: Air, Water and Soil (grade 2)
Earth and Space Science: Weather (grade 4)
Lessons activity is in: 
Materials: 
  • jar half filled with water
  • flashlight
  • white sheet of paper
Procedure: 

Distribute glass of water, flashlight and white paper to each student or student pair.
Ask them: We have water and sunlight. What weather feature might we make?
Once they know they are looking for a rainbow, older students can be challenged to arrange the flashlight, jar and paper to make a rainbow, while younger students can be assisted in making one:
Hold the jar in the air just above the desk. Lay the paper down in front of the jar. Shine the flashlight at the water line from back a bit, maybe angling it downwards a little. Don't block the bottom edge of the jar with your fingers. The higher the jar, the wider the rainbow. If you tip the jar slightly, you can make multiple rainbows.

Grades tested: 
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6
Gr 7
Teacher: 
Alane Lublow
Daphne Gurney
Heather Wallace
Ingrid
Nellie Wong
Nina Hooker
Scott Malin
Taz Ismail
Teaching site: 
Tyee Elementary
Activity originally developed and delivered: 

Tyee Elementary