Categories:

A prism experiment is a fantastic way to introduce school kids to the fascinating world of light and color. Here’s a simple prism experiment that you can do with school kids:

Materials Needed:

1. Prism (a glass prism is preferred, but a plastic prism will also work)
2. White sheet of paper or a white wall
3. Flashlight or bright light source (such as a lamp)
4. Dark room or dimly lit area

Procedure:

1. Set up the experiment in a dark room or a dimly lit area to observe the effects more clearly.
2. Place the white sheet of paper or the white wall on a flat surface.
3. Position the prism on the white surface, ensuring that it remains stable and doesn’t roll or move.
4. Direct the flashlight or bright light source towards the prism so that the light hits one of the surfaces of the prism.
5. Observe what happens when the light passes through the prism:
• You will notice that the prism splits the white light into a beautiful spectrum of colors, creating a rainbow-like pattern known as a spectrum.
• The colors of the spectrum will be arranged in a specific order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROYGBIV).
6. Encourage the kids to observe and explore the colors of the spectrum:
• Have them notice the differences in colors and how they blend into each other.
• Discuss with them how white light is actually made up of different colors, and the prism helps to separate them.
• Explain that each color corresponds to a different wavelength of light, with red having the longest wavelength and violet having the shortest wavelength.
7. Encourage the kids to move the prism around and observe how the spectrum changes in shape and orientation.
8. Optionally, you can also discuss the concept of refraction—the bending of light—as it passes through the prism. The prism bends different colors of light by different amounts, resulting in the separation of colors.
9. Allow the kids to ask questions and share their observations throughout the experiment.

Extensions:

• After observing the spectrum, kids can try to recreate it using colored markers or paints on a white sheet of paper.
• Encourage them to explore other materials that can refract light, such as water droplets, glass beads, or even CDs.
• Discuss real-life applications of prisms and the role they play in devices like cameras, binoculars, and spectrometers.

This prism experiment not only introduces kids to the concept of light and color but also encourages them to explore and discover scientific phenomena in a hands-on and interactive way.