The Science of Rainbows: How to Teach Kids a Rainbow
BLUE STUDIOS: STEM CLASSES FOR KIDS
BLUE STUDIOS: STEM CLASSES FOR KIDS
Children also look at rainbows as magical things. In fact, they may even ask you “How are rainbows made?” It’s time to teach a preschool rainbow science lesson to your class. For preschool students, this includes discussing that rainbows are natural occurrences. With a few simple rainbow experiments, these rainbows can be duplicated in the classroom to explain how they happen. A rainbow is colored light seen in the sky when rays of the sun strike falling raindrops. Rainbows are curved because raindrops that reflect the sunlight are curved. Rainbows occur after a storm when the sun begins to shine while the air is still filled with raindrops. They occur most often in the morning or early evening. Stripes of the rainbow are colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (blue-red) and violet (red-blue). Sometimes one color may fade out (most often blue). The red is almost always seen. Sometimes two rainbows can be observed. A rainbow is really a circle and has no end.
The Science of Rainbows
A rainbow occurs when raindrops fall on the surface of the earth at different heights. The greater the altitude of the water droplets in the air, the longer the distance they will reflect sunlight. If you look at the sun-lit part of the rainbow (the strip you see), you’ll notice the height of each droplet is different. The water droplets closest to the sun are scattered the longest, the light is bent the longest, and the colors will be more intense. The droplets at the edges of the rainbow will be scattered and have different colors and different intensities. A raindrop on the ground reflects a fraction of the sun’s energy, and that fraction is very small. The raindrop then disappears.
How to Teach Kids a Rainbow
Let’s go back to the classroom to get started. On a cloudy day, all of the water droplets of the rain can be seen against the blue sky. Take a handful of dry rice or dry beans. Place it on your hands, then onto the blue surface of a table. With the blue side of the rice-on-hands down, open up your closed eyes and look at the rice. Any drops of blue color on the rice are rainbows. When the sun comes out, after a storm, the blue color fades and a rainbow will appear. With your eyes closed, close your right eye and look at the rice. Look to the right. Once again, look to the right. Repeat this process until the rice is completely dry. Then open your eyes and look at the rice again. The rice will still be light blue in color. Now open your left eye and look at the rice.
Why do rainbows form?
The secret behind rainbows, why do they appear? The answer to this question lies in the water droplets that raindrops are made from. When you pour rainwater from a bottle into a puddle of water, most of the drops fall straight down. Others, however, will bend to the right or to the left. These ones form stripes of red and blue and other colors of light. These rainbows form when the sunlight passes through the water and hits each droplet in the sky. Before Rainbows: Water, Food, and Colors Learning about water: In the morning, water is clear or light-colored, such as the color of fresh-water oysters, sea urchins, and coral. For some people, the color of water changes with the season or how they feel.
The Colors of a Rainbow
The three main colors of a rainbow are red, orange, and yellow. A third color, indigo, is rarely seen. A rainbow is often made up of two colors that are not easily identified in nature. These colors are known as their subsets or lesser colors. The very smallest subset is indigo. The rainbow also has many less common colors. Pink and green are rarely seen together in nature. Purple and blue are rarely seen together, although both have been seen in nature. Rainbow colors can be anywhere from pure shades of a single color to shades that contain other colors. There is no definitive color for a rainbow. Colors that are not found in nature are called accidental colors. The rainbow color purple makes up less than 0.2% of the colors found in nature.
The Rainbow's Shape
The perfect rainbow displays the colors of the rainbow as well as the green umbrella that helps the light to be visible. Some rainbows appear to be straight and others curve. The colors of a rainbow are similar to the primary colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. According to the US National Ocean Service, the colors in a rainbow are brightest when the sun is at the top of the sky, near the Tropic of Cancer. For example, if the sun was at the Tropic of Cancer, then the colors of the rainbow would be the most prominent and we would see reds and yellows. If the sun were closer to the horizon, then the colors would appear more muted. Rainbows at midday often appear rainbow-like due to the reds and yellows being the brightest.
A rainbow and the end.
Children have a tendency to think rainbows are only one shape. How can a rainbow have a big top and a little bottom? If you tell them rainbows are really circles, many of them may feel puzzled or say “How can there be two big top corners and two little bottom corners?” That would be because a circle always has two edges that are the same length and two sides that are the same length. What’s more, when a circle is viewed from different angles or is at different heights the top and bottom of the circle may look very different. That’s why we can see a rainbow with different colors, when we walk on a rainbow it does not look the same.