Yesterday I found my youngest Acorn in a darkened corridor upstairs investigating the effect of putting a magnifying glass in front of his projector torch.
This self-directed activity became a great spring-board to looking into the science of light and colours, and we all spent a fun afternoon finding out more. First I supplied Toby with a variety of different magnifiers and encouraged him to describe what he noticed about the image on the wall becoming clear or blurry depending on the distance between the projector torch, the magnifier and the wall.
The boys then turned it into a game involving leading an exploration of an underground cavern system. When they had come to a natural conclusion of this game (i.e. they were hungry again), I fuelled them up with fruit and then brought out some diffraction glasses we had picked up at a science demonstration by the National Physics Laboratory last year.
We paraded around the house inspecting the spectrums given off by the different types of lights in our home and discussing how white light is made up of all the colours of the rainbow, describing how the compact fluorescent bulbs have a different effect to the LED lights and why they look different.
I’m just starting to ease the boys into the concept of the electromagnetic spectrum because they are increasingly asking questions about ultra-violet and infra-red light – their interest fuelled by the different lights we have set up for our bearded dragon in her vivarium.
We finished up the afternoon by investigating the difference between colours in light and pigments in paint and having a ‘mix your own paint shade’ investigation. My spare face paints got involved, the floor, the walls and Ollie got covered in pink shimmer powder and copper paint, Toby covered himself in silver face paint and inventing a new shade of glow-in-the-dark green. All in all an excellent investigation into light and colour.
If you want to experience a similar effect to these images, diffraction glasses are available online and at party stores as an inexpensive toy called rainbow diffraction glasses.
NB this post is not sponsored. My floor, walls and acorns recovered from the paint experiment, my table cover however will probably remain pink for the foreseeable future.