Science Projects for Kids: Spectrum of Colors

Make a Kaleidoscope with your kids that reflects the spectrum of colors.
Make a Kaleidoscope with your kids that reflects the spectrum of colors.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Science projects for kids: spectrum of colors are interactive learning experiences that leave a lasting impression. Teach kids valuable lessons about color, light, and science with projects about the spectrum of colors.

Bring out colors using light, chemicals, and natural objects. Use science projects to create a sense of wonder in kids, as well as a deeper understanding of the natural world.

On the following pages, you will learn science projects that teach kids important lessons about the spectrum of colors.

Not Just Black and White

Teach kids how to create the full spectrum of colors with black and white paper. Read about Not Just Black and White, a science project for kids.

Colors at a Distance

Which colors are most visible at a distance? Find out when you learn about Colors at a Distance, a science project for kids.

Make a Kaleidoscope

A Kaleidoscope uses mirrors to reflect the spectrum of colors and create complex images. Find out how to make a Kaleidoscope.

Discover Hidden Leaf Colors

Teach kids a science project that reveals what colors leaves will turn in the fall. Learn about Discover Hidden Leaf Colors, a science project for kids.

Racing Color Changes

Find out how to use antacid tablets to create vibrant colors in this science project for kids. Read about Racing Color Changes.

Erupting Weird Color Flow

This dramatic science project for kids uses chemicals to create vibrant color shifts. Learn about Erupting Weird Color Flow.

Not Just Black and White is a science project that teaches kids how to create vibrant colors using only black and white. Learn this science project on the next page of science projects for kids: spectrum of colors.

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Not Just Black and White

Create the spectrum of colors using black and white paper.
Create the spectrum of colors using black and white paper.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Not Just Black and White is a science project that teaches kids about color and light. Different colors will appear when you and your kids view spinning black-and-white circles.

What You'll Need:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • White paper
  • Black paper
  • Glue
  • Black marker
  • Tape
  • Knitting needle
  • Paper plate

Learn About Not Just Black and White:Step 1: Draw and cut out 3 circles of white paper that are each 5-1/2 inches in diameter. Put a small hole in the center of each circle.

Step 2: Draw and cut out a circle of black paper that is 5-1/2 inches in diameter. Cut the black circle in half. Cut 1 of the halves in half.

Step 3: Use these materials to make several different disks. Glue a black half-circle onto a white circle so that the disk is 1/2 black and 1/2 white. Glue a black quarter-circle onto a white circle so that the disk is 1/4 black and 3/4 white.

Step 4: Using a black marker, divide 1 white disk into 8 pie-wedge shapes. Color some of the pie wedges black, leaving others white.

Step 5: Wrap some tape around the middle of a knitting needle. Put the knitting needle through the middle of a 6-inch paper plate, and push the plate down to rest on the tape.

Step 6: Spin the plate. Be sure it spins smoothly and doesn't wobble. Use this as your spinner. Poke the knitting needle through the hole in the center of 1 disk, and let the disk rest on the paper plate.

Step 7: Spin the plate, and look at the disk as it spins. What colors do you see? Do you see different colors when the disk is spinning quickly or slowly? Spin the other disks to see what colors they produce.

Colors at a Distance is a science project that teaches kids about visual perception. Learn about Colors at a Distance on the next page of science projects for kids: spectrum of colors.

Looking for more science projects to do with your kids? Try:

Colors at a Distance

Colors at a Distance is a science project that teaches kids about visual perception. Some colors are more easily recognized than others by the human eye.

What You'll Need:

  • Cloth strips
  • Coat hanger
  • String
  • Paper
  • Pencil

Learn About Colors at a Distance:

Step 1: Ask a friend to tie narrow strips of different-colored cloth to the bottom of a coat hanger so that the strips hang down neatly. Have your friend hang the coat hanger on a tree limb some distance from you.

Step 2: Divide a sheet of paper into 2 columns. Write your name at the top of 1 column and your friend's name at the top of the other column. Down the left side, list the colors of your strips of cloth: yellow, orange, red, green, blue, black, and so on.

Step 3: When your friend says that the coat hanger is ready to be viewed, carry the sheet of paper and your pen, and walk toward the strips of cloth. As soon as you can see a color, write the number "1" on the paper under your name and next to the color you see to indicate that you saw that color first.

Step 4: Continue numbering all the colors as you see them. Now let your friend have a turn. Do you both agree on which color you were able to see first?

Step 5: Try the experiment again at a different time of day when the light is different. Compare your results to your first experiment.

Teach kids to make a kaleidoscope that reflects the spectrum of colors. Read about this science project for kids on the next page of science projects for kids: spectrum of colors.

Looking for more science projects to do with your kids? Try:

Make a Kaleidoscope

Make a kaleidescope with your kids, and teach them about the color spectrum.
Make a kaleidescope with your kids, and teach them about the color spectrum.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

A kaleidoscope is an ideal science project that teaches kids how to reflect the spectrum of colors and make beautiful images. In a kaleidoscope, mirrors reflect multiple images off of one another.

What You'll Need:

  • 3 small mirrors of the same size
  • Tape
  • Waxed paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper

How to Make a Kaleidoscope:Step 1: To make a kaleidoscope, tape together 3 small mirrors in a triangle shape with the mirror-sides facing inward.

Step 2: Stand the mirrors up on a piece of waxed paper, and trace around the bottom of the mirrors. Cut out this triangle shape, and then tape the piece of waxed paper in place at the bottom of the 3 mirrors.

Step 3: Cut out many small pieces and shapes from colored sheets of construction paper, and drop them inside the mirrors.

Step 4: Give your kaleidoscope a shake, then look inside. You will see some interesting patterns. The mirrors will reflect interesting shapes and colors.

Help kids Discover Hidden Leaf Colors while participating in this innovative science project. Find out how to bring fall colors out of spring leaves on the next page of science projects for kids: spectrum of colors.

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Discover Hidden Leaf Colors

Use alcohol to bring the fall colors out of the leaves.
Use alcohol to bring the fall colors out of the leaves.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Discover Hidden Leaf Colors is an eye-opening science project for kids. This experiment focused on the spectrum of colors lets kids preview fall colors in a spring or summer leaf.

What You'll Need:

  • Green leaves
  • Plastic bowl
  • Sand
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rock
  • Glass jar
  • Paper
  • Paper clips

How to Discover Hidden Leaf Colors:

The reds and yellows and oranges seen in fall leaves are always there, but they are hidden during the year by the greater amounts of green pigment in the leaf. You can perform an experiment to separate the colors in a leaf so you can see some of the hidden colors.

Step 1: Gather some green leaves. Put a few tablespoons of sand in a plastic bowl and add the leaves. With adult supervision, add enough rubbing alcohol to cover the leaves.

Step 2: Crush them into little pieces using a rock. (Be sure to wash your hands after touching the rubbing alcohol, and keep alcohol away from younger children in the house.) Crushing the leaves in the rubbing alcohol will pull the pigment out of the leaf and turn the alcohol green.

Step 3: Carefully pour the green alcohol out of the bowl and into a glass jar. (Discard the sand.)

Step 4: Now, roll a piece of paper into a cylinder and clip the ends together with a paper clip. Place the paper cylinder in the jar of alcohol, and leave it overnight (keep it away from any flame).

Step 5: The leaf pigments will creep up the paper. The pigments climb at different speeds, causing the different colors to separate from each other. In the morning, when you check the paper, you will be able to see the colors that were hidden in the leaf on the paper cylinder.

Racing Color Changes teaches kids to use antacid tablets to create a spectrum of colors. Read about Racing Weird Color Changes on the next page of science projects for kids: spectrum of colors.

Looking for more science projects to do with your kids? Try:

Racing Color Changes

Racing Color Changes is an eye-popping science project for kids.
Racing Color Changes is an eye-popping science project for kids.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Racing Color Changes is a visually stimulating science project for kids. Acid fighter to the rescue! Find out which antacid tablet is the best. This activity should be done with adult supervision. Never use medicine without adult approval. Wear goggles and rubber gloves when using ammonia and vinegar. Avoid skin contact with ammonia. If ammonia gets on your skin, wash immediately with lots of water. Wear goggles when working with cabbage juice indicator and vinegar.

What You'll Need:

  • Goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Measuring cups
  • 1/4 head of cabbage
  • 3 test tubes
  • Ammonia
  • Strainer pot
  • Sauce pan
  • Knife
  • Water
  • 4 glasses
  • Pipette (or eyedropper)
  • Vinegar
  • 2 different brands of antacid tablets
  • Large wooden spoon
  • Glass bottle with lid
  • 2 science stirrers (or coffee stirrers)

How to Learn About Racing Color Changes

Step 1: Cut cabbage into chunks. Put cabbage into the saucepan with 2 cups water. Heat to a low boil on the stove. Turn off the heat, and let water cool.

Step 2: Pour the cabbage juice through the strainer into a pot. Use a funnel to pour the cabbage juice into the bottle. Throw away the cabbage. You have made cabbage juice indicator.

Step 3: Test your cabbage juice indicator. Put on the goggles and rubber gloves. Put 2 tablespoons indicator into each test tube. Add 2 tablespoons water to each test tube to dilute the indicator.

Step 4: Add a few drops of vinegar to the first test tube, a few drops of ammonia to the second test tube, and a few drops of water to the third test tube. (Rinse pipette well between liquids.) Compare the color in each test tube.

Step 5: Dilute the cabbage indicator by adding 1/4 cup cabbage juice to 2 cups water in a glass. Add a few drops of vinegar until the cabbage indicator has a reddish color.

Step 6: Pour 1/4 cup diluted cabbage indicator into each of 3 glasses.

Step 7: Gather the different antacid tablets. Crush 2 tablets of each antacid with the back of the wooden spoon. Be sure to keep the brands separate.

Step 8: Place the crushed tablets of the first antacid into the first glass. Place crushed tablets of the second antacid into the second glass. Don't put anything into the third glass -- this is the control.

Step 9: Stir each glass the same amount every 5 minutes. After 40 minutes, compare the colors in the glasses. Which antacid caused the biggest change in color? The vinegar causes the cabbage color to change to red. As the antacid tablets dissolve, they neutralize some of the acid. This causes slow color changes in the cabbage indicator. The solution with the biggest color change is the stronger antacid.

Erupting Weird Color Flow is a dramatic science experiment for kids that creates the spectrum of colors with chemicals. Read about it on the next page of science projects for kids: spectrum of colors.

Looking for more science projects to do with your kids? Try:

Erupting Weird Color Flow

Be sure to wear rubber gloves and goggles during this science project.
Be sure to wear rubber gloves and goggles during this science project.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Erupting Weird Color Flow is a science project for kids that creates a spectrum of colors with chemicals.Wear goggles, rubber gloves, and

an apron throughout the entire activity. Do this demonstration in a

well-ventilated area. Do not let ammonia touch skin; if it does, wash

with plenty of water. Keep ammonia away from eyes.

Caution: Working with dry ice can be dangerous. Parents should do this activity with their children. Never touch dry ice. Avoid contact with all body parts and with clothes. Wear rubber gloves, and hold the ice with thick, folded paper.

Put dry ice in the glass and watch the smoke with your kids.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

­ What You'll Need :

  • Goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Apron
  • Cabbage juice indicator (see steps one through five of Racing Weird Color Changes)
  • Measuring cup
  • Water
  • 2 tall glasses
  • Ammonia
  • Pipette (or eyedropper)
  • Plastic bowl
  • Small piece of dry ice
  • Newspaper

Step 1: Put on the goggles, rubber gloves, and apron.­

Dilute the cabbage juice indicator by adding 1/4 cup cabbage juice to 2 cups water in a glass.

Step 2: Slowly and carefully add 1 drop ammonia. This should be sufficient to turn the solution slightly green. If not, add another drop. Don't add too much ammonia or you won't see a color change.

Step 3: Fill the other glass 1/3 full with diluted green cabbage juice. Put the glass inside the plastic bowl.

Step 4: Use a thick, folded sheet of newspaper to put the small piece of dry ice into the glass. Stand back, and observe what happens.

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ABOUT THE PROJECT DESIGNERS

Racing Weird Color Changes by Peter Rillero

Erupting Weird Color Flow by Peter Rillero

Peter Rillero, Ph.D. is the Department Chair of Secondary Education and associate professor of science education at Arizona State University in Phoenix. He is the author of Time for Learning: Science; Time for Learning: The Human Body, and Totally Creepy Bugs, and the co-author of the best selling high school biology textbook in the United States. Rillero has conducted two program evaluations of the world's largest science fair, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. His website is http://www.west.asu.edu/rillero.

Computer Illustration by: Rémy Simard

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