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Monday, May 23, 2011

Rainbow Colours

In several of my previous posts I have talked about my class of six-year-olds, for whom I designed a syllabus based around content from other subject areas such as literacy, science, art and crafts, drama and P.S.H.E.

Today I'm going to talk about an activity I did last week, which the children thoroughly enjoyed. At the moment we are looking at the world around us, and in the previous lessons we had been talking about the weather. In the lesson in question we were looking at primary colours and the other colours that can be formed by these. Some of the children were aware that mixing colours formed new ones, but others were finding it hard to guess which colours would be created. So we did an experiment to see how by using only three colours: RED, BLUE and YELLOW, we could make others such as orange, green, purple and pink.

What you need:
  • A bowl
  • red, blue and green food coloring
  • milk
  • washing-up liquid

    First, I showed the children what we were going to do. I mimed pouring milk into the bowl, and then adding a drop of each food colouring at the edges of the bowl, about a third of the way apart.  I then pretended to put a drop of washing-up liquid in the middle. As I was doing this I explained what I was doing in simple English.
    I then gave the children a worksheet where they had to predict what they would see.

    Worksheet 5

    We carried out the experiment twice, in order to see if there were any changes between the two bowls.

    The children were fascinated by how the colours moved around the bowls, mixing and changing shade and form. We left the bowls for a few minutes and then came back to note any changes.

    The children commented on the new colours that emerged and even compared the second bowl to a planet!
    These pictures show how the two bowls developed:



    The children then completed the second part of the worksheet, by choosing one of the two bowls and drawing what they had seen.

    The final activity was noticing which colours merged together to form new ones.

    The children had lots of fun and were really engaged - one of the few times I have managed to get them all standing still around the table quietly!

    4 comments:

    1. Great idea! Were there any disagreements over what was what? I imagine a bit of 'Yellow? No, it's orange!', 'Blue? No it's purple!' and stuff - mostly in Spanish perhaps!

      There's something like this you can do where you place a sheet of paper on the mixture in order to have it soak up the colours, then you get a really nice blurry, coloured image. Not sure what the chemical ingredients for that are though.

      ReplyDelete
    2. Hi Richard,
      The paper thing you mention rings a bell, I may have even done it when I was at school!
      The kids didn't argue too much about the colours, although some of them seemed to see the colour black in there, which must have been a dark brown.
      Some of them wanted to choose the colours to use in the "after" stage, rather than drawing what they had seen!

      ReplyDelete
    3. Hi Michelle,
      Interesting activities for the little ones. If you don't mind the hassle of cleaning up, the kids should be allowed to use the 'new' colour appeared to paint the circles in the activity sheet as post experiment. I'm sure it'll be fun!

      ReplyDelete
    4. This sounds like a great lesson Michelle. Kids really love to see things in action like this and I always find it gives them a much more memorable learning experience.

      Just watch out that none of them try to drink the coloured milk afterwards - I know a couple of my kids would! ;)

      ReplyDelete

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