We dove into rainbows right off with two stories - one fiction, one non-fiction - to gain some background knowledge. We learned that the spectrum of colors is always the same because the colors blend to create new colors. That's why orange is surrounded by red and yellow; and green is surrounded by yellow and green.
The fun started when we actually caught a rainbow in a bowl. Colors mixed and created a rainbow right in front of the children's eyes. It's a visually appealing experiment that lent itself well to color mixing discussions and documenting our observations. This idea was highlighted on the Chasing Cheerios blog. You can find the specific instructions and documentation sheets on the Kid Zone website.
We did this activity in groups of 5 to accomodate each child and make sure they had a bird's eye view on the action. I enjoyed watching the different designs that emerged each time we did it. This is definitely an activity that could be repeated because the visual results are different each time. Here are some pictures of our "captured" rainbows and the children documenting their observations.
After they completed their observations, I transcribed their answers to the question "What did I see?." I love hearing their explanations. It shows the critical thinking skills they are building as they observe and ponder what it all means to them.
We viewed rainbows all over our classroom through two prisms. The children enjoyed seeing where the rainbows would appear when they held it up to the light in the classroom. They also got to see rainbows dance across the room as sunlight streamed through the prisms in the afternoon. That was a very exciting moment indeed.
Finally, we also saw rainbows created by our "Rainbow in Your Room" machine. This is a really neat device that projects a rainbow onto a wall. It works best in a dark room, but the rainbow is still visible in a lit classroom. Here's a link to the product on the on the Amazon site.
Finally, we flexed our creative muscles by painting our own rainbows. The children were given rainbow colors and allowed to create a rainbow from their own imagination. Here are some of the little artists hard at work on their masterpieces.
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our rainbow focus as much as we enjoyed our rainbow-filled time in the classroom. I love how a science topic like rainbows can be woven into a variety of content areas to create a comprehensive set of memorable lessons for the children.