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					In this lesson the learner will: Discover the primary and secondary colors of light and paint through exploration. Manipulate colors of light through mixing primary colors. Refract light to find the colors of the color wheel.

Give students a magnifying lens and ask them to look at a tv or a computer screen through the lens. What do they see? Based on your observations what are the primary colors of light?

Set up three different slide projectors, each with a different color slide, red, blue, or green. Get students to predict the colors they will derive when they mix the three primary colors of light. Have students work in teams to mix light beams. Challenge them to find all of the possible color combinations, two at a time, and the three together. Hint: Keep the light intensities the same to produce the best results.

Using two projectors at a time, they should find the products of two colors. For example, red + blue makes magenta, green + blue makes cyan, and red + green makes yellow. Next, the students should also find that the three colors together make white.

Applying the information derived from mixing light, introduce the primary colors of paint. Differentiate between light addition that makes white and light subtraction that makes black. Have students mix the primary colors of paint in an activity using icing and cookies. The cookie represents the canvas. Three separate containers of icing tinted magenta, cyan, and yellow represent the paint.
Therin Smith Texas Tech University/HHMI/NSTA

Students should derive the secondary colors of paint by mixing equal amounts of two colors of icing at a time. Finally, they should mix equal amounts of the three colors in the middle of the cookie to derive black.

Demonstrate the Kaleidoscoptical Activity, developed by Flinn Scientific Inc., to demonstrate white light separating into the colors of the color wheel. This is the reverse process of mixing the color slides to produce white light.

Have students create an illustration using colored pencils and white butcher paper to demonstrate what they have learned about light and paint. They can communicate their understanding in a graph, a chart, a cartoon, or a picture story, but they should not be limited to these suggestions.

Kaleidoscoptical Activity
Large Beaker 1 liter 15 oz. of Corn Syrup Clear Polarized film Polarized filter pattern (included) Scissors Tape, invisible Overhead projector

Mixing Light
Slides of Red, Blue, and Green color filters 3 Slide projectors Screen or white wall Overhead projector

Mixing Paint
Cookies or Graham Crackers White canned frosting Magenta, Cyan, and Yellow food coloring Napkins Craft sticks (one/child+extras) Paper Plates or bowls

Therin Smith Texas Tech University/HHMI/NSTA

Grade 5 5.1A 5.2 Demonstrate safe practices during field and laboratory investigations A plan and implement descriptive investigations including asking welldefined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and selecting and using equipment and technology Analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct and indirect evidence Communicate valid conclusions Demonstrate that repeated investigations may increase the reliability of results. Identify and demonstrate everyday examples of how light is reflected, such as from tinted windows and refracted lenses.


5.2D 5.4B


Therin Smith Texas Tech University/HHMI/NSTA