Lesson plan

Light colours from the sun

Outdoors on a sunny day, make rainbows with prisms and a hose, or make a spectroscope with older students. Use coloured plastic to experiment with parts of the colour spectrum.
Science content
Physics: Light and Sound (1)
  • materials listed in the individual activities
  • a sunny day

Do all or some of these activities.

Lesson plan 1:

Take students outdoors.
We will use the sun to explore the colours of light.
Remind them not to look at the sun - it is so powerful it can burn your eyes.

The colours in light:
Ask students what colour the light from the sun is. They can see on a white sheet of paper that the light is white, not yellow.
Talk about the white light actually being a mixture of many different colours.

Activities to find the colours in sunlight:
Colours with a prism or CD, Make a rainbow with a hose.

Taking colours away:
Why are leaves green?
All the colours of sunlight go into the leaves. Only some of the colours come out (are reflected out) again. When any object has a colour e.g. your shirt, it is because it only reflects some of the colours. The other colours it keeps, or absorbs.

Activity to take away some colours and see how the world changes:
Coloured filters activity

Optional game:
Give students Diffraction gratings.
Ask them to play tag while holding them over their eyes, or to simply walk in a straight line! The world is separated into its colours, and it is hard to walk through a rainbow world.

Lesson plan 2:

Start indoors making the spectroscope and testing it out on different bulb types, before heading outside to use it with the sun.
Then run the Coloured filters activity, with plenty of free exploration and recording of observations. Group up to find patterns in observations.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3