It’s Day 4 of Primary Color Camp! For today’s rainbow science activity, we're sharing how to make your own rainbow prism with just a few household items.
To make your prism, you'll need:
- A shallow pan
- Sunlight (or a flashlight if it's cloudy outside!)
- A piece of white paper (or any white surface you can hold)
- A small mirror that will fit in your pan
- Extra: Any style from the rainbow shop
Step 1: Fill your pan about halfway with water. Place the mirror into the pan, by leaning it against one of the walls of the pan at a 45-degree angle.
Step 2: If it's sunny, head outside! If not, shine your flashlight at the part of the mirror that is submerged underwater.
Step 3: Hold the piece of paper above the mirror, and move it around until you see a rainbow!
Wondering how that just happened? Here's a mini science lesson!
In order for a rainbow to appear, two things have to be present: water and white light. Keep in mind that white light (or sunlight) is a mixture of all the different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (aka our buddy, Roy G. Biv). And two things have to happen: refraction and reflection.
Refraction is the bending of light as it passes through different substances, like water. When you shined a light on your water in the pan, that light bent — which means that all the colors it's made up of also bent.
Reflection is the return of light from a surface. You used your mirror to reflect the light back out of the water, and were able to see all the individual colors because of the refraction that bent and broke up the white light into those colors. Different colors travel at different speeds, and therefore show up at different angles — did you notice the difference in angles between red and violet, for example?
The next time you see a rainbow in nature (no, we don't mean your favorite Primary tee!), think about what you learned today! As a budding scientist, it might be fun for you to try and answer these questions: What is the sunlight being refracted on? Where are those colors being reflected?
Share your rainbows with us on social at @primarydotcom with #yesprimary and #primarycolorcamp for a chance to be featured! Check out our entire lineup of easy, DIY Color Camp activities for kids, and don’t forget to visit the Camp Shop for outfits, essentials, and more camp picks from Team Primary.
You can also shop our gender neutral rainbow styles for kids and baby, all year round.