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Make a Rainbow

A prism is a piece of glass with a special shape. It spreads out the colors in white light to make a rainbow of colors. Follow the directions below to make your very own prism at home.

 

Materials:
clear plastic container, water, mirror, flashlight, white cardboard or paper, and observation journal

Procedures:
1. Fill a plastic container of the way with water. Set the container in front of a white piece of cardboard or paper that is propped up.
2. Hold or prop the mirror at an angle in the water. The mirror should be at the opposite end of the container facing the white cardboard. About half of the mirror should be submerged in water.
3. Make a hypothesis. What do you think will happen when a flashlight is shone onto the mirror? Record in your journal.
4. Shine the flashlight straight into the mirror. Look at the white paper and record what happened.
5. Why did this happen? Record your ideas

What actually happened:
The water in front of the mirror acts like a prism. When the light from the flashlight hits the water, the light bends. The different colors that make up the white light bend differently. This causes the colors to separate and form a rainbow. The mirror reflects the rainbow onto the white cardboard or paper. It could also be reflected onto a ceiling or wall.