Are you ready for some St. Patrick’s Day Science? I sure am, and this year I wanted to make a rainbow with my girls. I have to say making a rainbow in the house is a lot easier than what I thought it would be, and it is a lot of fun too.
We decided to do this at night since it is much easier to see the rainbow in the dark. However we could have just gone into a room and closed the curtains too but I was being dramatic and building the excitement up for the girls by waiting for it to be dark enough. Then we set everything up and took turns holding the light and making rainbows. I also asked each of the girls to tell me what colors they saw. They were able to see Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, and Purple. We had a hard time seeing green in this experiment but the girls did not seem to notice.
Both girls had a blast and thought it was really cool that we made a rainbow. My oldest now wants to find a rainbow and follow it to the gold, um that was not in the lesson here. But I guess when Spring comes around we can go on a rainbow hunt and talk more about refraction and reflection because there is no way to get to the end of a rainbow. Or since my daughter is only six, I could just tell her those Leprechauns are pretty sneaky moving that rainbow on us! Either way I can see a rainbow hunt in my not to distant future.
NOTE: on the type of light you use. We used a few different flash lights for this experiment and got the best results with a Single Bulb Led Light. Our second best results was with my daughters Lantern with the top off (the picture at the bottom of the post is with that one). We had no luck with the multi bulb lights.
What is happening with this experiment? As the light enters the glass the water refracts (bends) the light which causes it to separate into the colors of the rainbow, then the mirror reflects that light onto your white wall.
In nature a rainbow forms when a bunch of rain drops refract the sun light, and depending on where you are standing and the angle of the rainbow depends on what colors you will see. Have you ever noticed how a rainbow seems to move with you?
Clear Glass Jar
Small Mirror that will fit in your jar
Single Bulb LED light