Make a Rainbow
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.
clear plastic container, water, mirror, flashlight, white cardboard
or paper, and observation journal
1. Fill a plastic container ¾ of the way with water. Set the
container in front of a white piece of cardboard or paper that is
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.