Monday, December 9, 2013

Water, Light, and Rainbows Part II

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning.  But for children play is serious learning.  Play is really the work of childhood.  
(Fred Rogers)
Play is the beginning of knowledge. 
(George Dorsey)
Play is the highest form of research.  
(Albert Einstein) 

Anna's impromptu light studio allowed the children to play with light and explore materials. Their joyful experimentation gave them more insight into the properties of light, the mediums through which it can (or can't) pass, transparency, opacity, and reflection.  The children were curious: could we make a rainbow without water?  

Light assemblages were created and projected up onto the walls: 

Colored blocks were stacked high in front of the light projector to see if 
a rainbow could be produced:

 Above:  E.K. and A.C. show the pathway and the effect of light
as it passes through colored materials

N.B. (left):  I learned that rainbows can be formed without water because the projector was showing the light and colors of all the blocks on the wall.
E.K.:  I learned that if you mix yellow and blue it makes green.
P:  The outline of your hand is purple with the purple lens.
What will happen if you change the color of the lens?
P:  The outline changes to that color! 

A.L.:  The light of the rainbow can go through any material that is clear – not through wood, walls, or metal.
L:  All the colors (the color paddles) kind of make a rainbow.

P:  I know that light went through the colored blocks and it made a rainbow.  It showed red, green, and blue.  
C:  The colors (on the projector) are reflecting up on the wall.
N:  Everything has color. All the colors make a rainbow.
Will colors change when you put one color on top of another?  

What is - and is not - a rainbow?
G.:  If you shine (light) through something on the other side, it will make that color.

(left):  The light is going through the color block.  (right):  A projector is aiming at a block of green.  The light went through it and made the color green.

J (above):  The light from the projector is on the wall and it's blue. The blocks are making the color and this is me stacking them.  The colors from the blocks projected on the wall.  

Will this make a rainbow?
E.K. and J. work together to see what they can produce with light
E.S. and  L. stack colorful blocks to give it a try

I (above): Rainbows can be formed without water.  Once the light hits the wall, it goes up and down and then it stops.  There is a tower of colors.  It's taller on the wall because the light took it higher.   

Play is part of the process of figuring things out...a way to test theories...
and generate new ones.  


E.S.:  A disco ball is kind of like rain. A rainbow comes right in front of the ball, just like it comes right in front of the rain.

M:  But it has to be in the right spot to make the rainbows on the wall, near the light, where it’s very bright.  When you shine the disco globe onto the window (all the reflections look like) a computer keyboard.

E.S.:  I put the disco ball in front of the light.  It made squares that had rainbows in them.  

M (above):  The disco ball is reflecting light through a glass door.  The light bounces off the disco could add water and light to make a rainbow, or you could go outside and try to make one by throwing water around on a sunny day.  

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