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-AndTeachers Guide

Learning interactively about [Diffraction] [Color Mixing] [Color Subtraction] [Color Blindness] [Fluorescence]


Table of Contents:
3. Overall Breakdown of Teaching Process 4. General Usage Information Activities: 5-6. Diffraction 7-8. Color Mixing 9-10. Color Subtraction 11-13. Color Blindness 14-15. Fluorescence Additional Handouts: RGB + RYB Color Wheels Ishihara Test Images Ishihara Test Guide Color Blind-Simulated Images Script


Overall Breakdown of Teaching Process

1 2 3 4

Introduce concept
Begin with the basics of the concept explored by the experiment. See what the students know already. Get them excited to learn more about it!

Follow the experiment procedures to guide the interactive learning process about each concept.

Engage all the students in sharing their scientific observations and further connect it to the facts of the concepts.

Challenge students to share the information with a family member or friend. Relate the concept to practical applications and real-life scenarios to help the information stick better.


General Usage Information:

Learning Objectives:
Students shall understand how white light and colors are perceived Students shall understand the cause and effects of color blindness Students shall understand the physics of fluorescence Students shall understand the science of light and its relevance to life

Complete Kit Material List:

3 flashlights Light bulbs (Incandescent and Compact Fluorescent) 2 sets of 4 color filters Diffraction gratings Invisible ink pen with UV black light Color subtraction viewing box 4 binder clips (in different colors) Color blindness images/tests

Time/Target Ages:
Elementary School students; Group of 7-15 The activities in this lesson plan range in their duration, though they average to last about 15 minutes each. It is based on the allotment of exploration and observation time, so it can be manipulated to fit the time frame of the class. If time constraints are restrictive, consider only doing a section of the activities: diffraction and color mixing work as a simpler lesson plan; color subtraction and color blindness are more complex but well connected concepts; fluorescence is a bonus activity that adds a supplementary dimension of interest to the entire lesson Background information provided for the activities may be quite extensive, but it is up to your discretion as a teacher to simplify the information according to the knowledge level of your students. Metaphors and visual descriptions help to simplify yet still explain more challenging concepts


1. Diffraction
White light is the combined view of colors across the visible light spectrum assimilated by the human eye. Light waves behave in the same manner as other types of waves and bend when they encounter an obstacle. Diffraction is the spreading of light waves and a diffraction grating is used to see the exact distribution of the varied wavelengths of light from a single light source. The longest wavelength is red and conversely the shortest wavelength is violet. Consequent of their wavelength, the amount of diffraction of each color is unique, with the longer wavelengths diffracting more than the shorter wavelengths. A rainbow or divided spectrum of these wavelengths is caused by the characteristic of these different rates of diffraction for each wavelength within the light emitted from the light source. Blobs and dark spaces may appear in the spectrum, due to the clash and interference of the wavelengths. Depending on the continuity and range of the spectrum, the whiteness and closeness to daylight of a light source can be evaluated.

The diffraction experiment is an introduction to the concept of light as the combinative result of a group of wavelengths within the visible light spectrum. This method of exploring diffraction, is a modification to the typical prism demonstration, however it allows for a greater opportunity for exploration and experimentation on the part of the students.

10 diffraction grating cards Various light sources (fluorescent, incandescent) o Experiment with sunlight as well (if possible)

1. Hand out the diffraction grating cards to students 2. Allow them to explore around the classroom to view the spectrum of light provided by each light source in the room a. Tell them to make notes in their head of the colors and patterns they see *5

b. After a few minutes of open exploration, bring the groups attention to the incandescent light bulb and then the fluorescent light bulb included in the kit. 3. Gather the group and show them images of light distributions; ask them to identify what types of light (fluorescent, incandescent, etc.) are used in the classroom and which one do they like the most

What did you see? Did the lights have different spectra? Explain that the spectra varies by the wavelength of light emitted by the light source; the smoother the gradient, the closer it is to natural sunlight

Talk about the types of light the students have in their homes and compare them with the results and preferences found through the experiment

For more information:


2. Color Mixing
All the colors perceived by the human eye can be created through the manipulation of light in the three primary colors of red, green, and blue. In the absence of light, everything is black. Color mixing entails the combination of light in a range of wavelengths to produce a desired color display. The combination of colors are complimentary and supplementary, resulting in countless colors from the initial three source colors of light. For example, the combination of green and red light forms yellow light.

Color mixing will be demonstrated by experimenting with color filters on flashlights to create colored shadows on the wall. The students will be challenged to race against each other to see which group can create the requested color shadow the fastest. The discussion about mixing color will be explained using the interactive tool of color wheels to the students. Rather than a direct explanation, this section of the lesson will be led through questions and answers from the students, to ensure that they are grasping the color combination concepts and engaged in learning the information.

3 flashlights 2 sets of color filters Color dice 2 Color wheels

1. Divide students into three-person experiment groups; explain that this activity will be conducted in the form of a game where they must team up to create a specific color with flashlights and color filters 2. Roll the color dice to determine what the students have to create in their teams; play the game for several rounds, keeping track of the time it takes for the students to create the designated color *7

3. *Alternative activity* Have students take turns shining the flashlight with a color filter they select and explore the various combinations that can be made by the various colors 4. Assist the students in deciphering the color wheel to achieve the colors they need to create, while guiding them in their exploration of color combinations 5. Announce the winning team and have them lead the discussion of how colors mix; using the color wheel, guide the students to understanding the math of color mixing

Did you notice any patterns in the way the colors mixed? Do you know what [color 1] and [color 2] makes? (Prior to actually creating the combination with the flashlights and filters) Did any combination of colors surprise you? Explain that the colors are formed by red, green, and blue; with the color wheel, all the subsequent iterations of colors can be found, such as red + green = yellow, red + blue = magenta, green + blue = cyan

Discuss how color mixing is used in electronic displays; computer monitors, televisions, and other screens all project images by combining red, green, and blue light to a myriad of color combinations

For more information: &dq=yellow+objects+absorb&source=bl&ots=P9Sg-ZyoB3&sig=zE39OpCWI63qD6kn2L8oSHRj74&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6ie8UIboH8rj0QGB9Y HoAQ&ved=0CE0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=yellow%20objects%20absor b&f=false


3. Color Subtraction
When the human eye perceives color, it is the product of the absorption of certain colors by the object being viewed and the colors that are sent to our eyes instead. White light consists of light waves from throughout the visible light spectrum. Objects absorb the light waves in its color and then allow the other light waves to travel to the eye for interpretation. The colors that are transmitted, absorbed, and seen depend on the color of the object and the light source. Normally, the results of seeing an object in white light are quite obvious and predictable. However, with the addition of color filters, the concept of color subtraction arises. Filters alter the light waves that are permitted through the source to the object and then subsequently, back out into the eye. The principle for color subtraction is simple and according to the magenta, cyan, and yellow color wheel. Complementary colors are absorbed by the filters and objects, leaving the remaining color as the end result of what you perceive. For example, if you utilize the magenta filter with the white light, red and blue light will be reflected and subsequently, a magenta tint will appear on all the colored objects.

Unlike the first two demonstrations, the color subtraction demonstration will be a larger group activity, because of the box that is required to isolate light and properly feature the concept at hand. In the discussion afterwards, the students will be asked what they observed though the complex concept of color subtraction will be primarily explained rather than asked about.

Cardboard box A set of color filters Bright source of light Colored objects (included colored binder clips)


1. Have the students pick multiple objects with a defined, saturated color for the experiment, or utilize the included set of binder clips in primary colors 2. Place one of the objects into the box and allow students to view it with the flashlight and color filter shining through the window on the top of the box 3. Ask students to describe the change in color they see and repeat this process for the other objects 4. Gather the students together to discuss if they observed any color subtraction rules and explain the concept through a connection to the previous experiment, with the color wheel

What rules did you notice? How did red and green affect each other? How did blue change the color of the yellow clip? Does this work in real life outside of the box? Give an example of how the color of something in the room changed with color subtraction applied to it. Explain how the colored light is absorbed or reflected by the clip (based on its color; i.e. yellow clip absorbs everything but red and green, it reflects red and/or green depending on the incoming light to the object)

Try the experiment using sunglasses; how does the brown tint of the lenses affect the way your eyes perceive the light and colors around you? Reverse engineer the process and challenge the students to formulate how to view an object in a specified color utilizing the color filters on the box

For more information:

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4. Color Blindness
Often caused by genetics, the condition of color blindness varies greatly in degree of severity and its specific effects. It affects 20 times more males than females, because it is a congenital condition carried by X chromosome and females have two X chromosomes and compensate for an affected X chromosome but males cannot. One of the most common types of color blindness is the trouble of discerning red and green. Other deficiencies include blue-yellow color blindness in which the short wavelengths of these colors are unable to activate the short-wavelength cones in the eyes, and monochromacy in which the existence of only one or zero working cone cells leads to the rare condition that causes the inability to perceive most colors. Color blindness is the failure of distinct portions of a persons cones in viewing light to define and identify certain colors properly. The result of the vision of someone suffering from color blindness is distorted colors and lack of color definition. Types of each subcategory of color blindness exist; red-green color blindness is divided into three specific categories of Protanopia, Deuteranopia, Protanomaly, and Deuteranomaly. Protanopia is the condition where long-wavelength cone cells are lacking and that the existence of only two types of cone cells in the eye causes the perception of all colors as the mixture of only two primary colors. Blindness in the eyes ability to perceive longer wavelengths lead to red color distortion. Deuteranopia is a more serious case of protanopia and people with this condition struggle further in creating photo-realistic three dimensional perceptions as their cones are unable to interpret medium-wavelength light effectively as well. Blindness in the eyes ability to perceive middle-range wavelengths lead to green color distortion along with red deficiencies.

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Protanomaly is a condition caused by the mutated sensitivity of a persons longwavelength cones that tends to perceive the wavelengths as short wavelengths and thusly alter the color of what is seen. Weakness in the eyes ability to perceive longer wavelengths lead to red color distortion. Deuteranomaly is similar to protanomaly, except the distortion occurs when viewing medium-wavelength light, so the perception of light is altered in color but less so in intensity. Weakness in the eyes ability to perceive middle-range wavelengths lead to green color distortion along with red deficiencies. Testing for color blindness can be as simple as viewing objects in real life, however the scientific method referred to by most for a proper diagnosis is the Ishihara test. The test is a series of images featuring the colors in question that can be interpreted significantly differently from a person with normal cones and rods to a person with varying degrees of color blindness.

Now that the students have a better understanding of how the eyes perceive, the concept of color blindness will be introduced. Initially, the misconception of color blindness as monochromacy must be cleared up and the basis of color blindness will be explained to the students.

Images generated with color blindness impairment effect (Photographs and Ishihara Test graphics) Color Blindness glasses

1. Have students compare normal and color blind versions of photographs and graphics 2. Let them take turns viewing the Ishikawa Test images with the color blindness glasses and make guesses as to the numbers they see; make sure they do not share answers with each other 3. Open up group discussion with students sharing how they feel about the glasses and simulated color blindness; explain the reason behind color blindness, such as genetics, color receptors, etc.

Could you read the different numbers? What did you see? * 12

How did it vary depending on the glasses you wore? Did color blindness affect how you saw other things in the room? Explain that color blind individuals cannot read the numbers as a result of the numbers being either red or green amidst more red and green dots. They cannot tell apart the colors and distort it to look like a homogenous medley of spots. (Refer to Ishihara Test handout) Explain that the green glasses depicted someone with red color deficiencies, whilst the red glasses depicted someone with green color deficiencies

Ask students to think of situations in which a color blind individual may be seriously affected by their condition (i.e. shopping for clothes, viewing traffic lights and signs, etc.)

For more information: ml

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5. Fluorescence
Certain molecules are particularly excited by a bright light source, due to heat and light waves absorbed. As a result of this excitement, there is a large amount of activity occurring in the molecules. The light emitting process of fluorescence happens not during this busy period though, but rather, the materials begin to emit light in the process of delaying its activity from the agitated state to the ground state. Photons in their excited stage create a large amount of energy and the transition from exited to ground is another powerful reaction. The energy released in this process is at a wavelength that is visible in the electromagnetic spectrum; therefore it is visualized as colored light by the eye. It almost seems as if the object is glowing, because of how quick (in under 10-8 second) the reemitting process takes place. There are many ways to achieve fluorescence with a plethora of materials, though most commonly the effect is created with a fluorescent material and ultraviolet light source. In fact, popular Compact Fluorescent light bulbs operate by the same science; the phosphor coating of the bulb is activated to display the visible light waves emitted by the excited gases within the bulb to sustain the bright, vibrant source of light used in households. Due to the reactionary nature of the fluorescent effect, it is a form of light that lasts for only a brief period.

To compliment the lessons about color and light, the students will learn a bit about fluorescence. It is another factor that depends largely on the physics of light and affects perception of images. Invisible ink and ultraviolet light exemplifies one form of fluorescence that is accessible and easy for students to interactively explore.

Invisible ink pen Ultraviolet light Paper Riddle (in envelopes)

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1. Write a riddle or draw a picture with invisible ink pen on multiple sheets of paper 2. Let students use the ultraviolet light to find the pieces of the riddle and work together to solve it. 3. Verify the answer of the riddle and discuss as a group about how fluorescence worked to allow the message to be hidden then revealed.

Could you see the ink without the black light? What does the puzzle say? Can you solve the riddle? (What kind of music do mummies listen to? - WRAP music) Explain that the black light activates the reaction of photon excitement in the ink and as the photons calm down to their ground state, the color is emitted

Experiment with fluorescent highlighters; they work in the same way to be extra illuminated in dark light Incandescent light does not create the same reaction in the ink and so a regular highlighter and fluorescent highlighter look the same in normal room lighting

For more information:

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