Thursday, 14 March 2013

I can sing a rainbow

Yesterday Tall Small and I had an enforced morning at home waiting to go to an appointment. She was missing science at school, as was I - it's one of the mornings I usually go into school to help. There was no homework to be done, music practice was up to date so we decided to think about what the children might be studying at school and do our own version. With experiments, obviously.

She's been looking at light this half term - a bit about how vision and how we perceive colour, but mostly the properties of light. Reflection and so on. We did a couple of simple activities to investigate Snell's law- remember "the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection"? Mirrors and torches and fizzy water and still water. We found a brilliant website crammed with activities, including instructions to construct a water prism and split white light into its components. This is a real winner.


You need: a glass bowl full of water, a small mirror, a piece of white card or a white wall, and some sunshine. I realise that may be the hardest part.


Set up the bowl by a sunny window and prop the card up in front of it. Partially submerge the mirror in it. Angle it so the sunlight reflects off the mirror and onto the card.



 You will see the light on the card and occasional hints that something interesting could be about to happen ...



Then suddenly, a shimmering, wavering rainbow appears on the card and you shout and squeak and count the colours - until the sun goes behind a cloud.



We talked about eye structure. We talk about how visible light forms just a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. About wavelengths. About colour blindness, which developed into a conversation about inheritance and genetics. And I marvelled about how quickly my girl is growing up and how she seems to have a real feeling for science. She worked out the answer to every question I asked, and asked lots of her own.

Science in school with SmallSmall's class this afternoon. Let's see what they find out!

30 comments:

  1. How lovely! What a star mum you are!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Snell's law? No I do not remember. At all. I do remember doing something with prisms though and yours are so very beautiful.

    My daughter and I would have just watched Miranda dvds.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're such a good Mum Ms. Dotty. And I'm amazed that you can remember so much of that info!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I could have done with you last night Val - Year 7 Physics homework. And the resident physicist was out of the country.... We had to resort to google. It was not pretty. Circuits never were my strong point.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry, I'm too busy laughing at Sue's comment now to remember what I was going to say!
    I think it was something about a rainbow appearing above Pip's bed on sunny days. I don't know the science, but it must be coming from the conservatory somehow as there's very little natural light out in the hall. Makes my day, though, when I see it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Science lessons were delivered in Hungarian at my school. Only remember Cadmium and Antimony which I always intended to name my children. (I didn't in the end.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Snell's law... I was obviously asleep the day we did that! You always make science seem so much fun!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I LOVE IT! I could give you a big ol' bear hug. It's so important to inspire and motivate children so they love learning. You have done that and make a memory that will last a lifetime. Your daughter will tell that story FOREVER!

    Well done you! You've earned a gold star. Go to the head of the class!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks Debs. I have to confess that they also spend rather a lot of time playing Minecraft but we do have a lot of fun with our experiments.

      Delete
  9. Don't think I did Snell's Law, and I don't think I ever mentioned it when I taught Ks2 science - oops. Love your experiment

    ReplyDelete
  10. I LOVE science and so does my oldest which makes me so happy, not sure he will follow in Grandads footsteps and become a vet but i do hope he uses it for something when he is older and still loves it as much.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh Missus DC, how I love thee. Tested CK on Snell's Law. Not quick enough a response for my liking. (winkyface)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think we might have got as far as making the rainbow, and then gone "ooh pretty"........

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love your science posts! You make it seem such fun....it was never a favourite subject at school, but maybe that was down to the rather dry method of teaching.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The many skills of being a mother, hoping I've got a few more years to go before I add scientist to my ever growing list, great experiment though!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm so impressed Val - I'm really not educating my children properly at all!! I wish I had your talents. Lucy xx

    ReplyDelete
  16. I used to watch the prisms on my bedroom wall made by the bevelled edged mirror of my dressing table. There's a scene in Pollyanna where the chandelier makes hundreds. What lucky girl having a mum who can explain it all!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well done, Science Mum! No one should have to get to college before finding out that science is FUN!

    ReplyDelete
  18. That kind of learning through scientific play activity is just the best :D

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love this and will be doing something similar with the lads

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a fun experiment! Finding sunshine these days where I am feels like a challenge too! That is wonderful that your daughter is really into science.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Smells Law, there were lots of yucky smells in our science lab ;)
    You are a genius to remember all this amazing stuff,a good way to make the most of a bit of sunshine.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love taken part with the kids and their experiments - it's like being back at school again, but seeing it through their eyes...just like Pollyanna.

    Nina x

    ReplyDelete
  23. oh soooo you don't just plonk your kids in front of the tv? is that where I'm doing wrong?

    Geesh.

    I might send you No 1 for a while... he's the scientist around here and this is his latest question, "is we delete all the space in between the atoms in our bodies... how small would we be?"

    Answers on a postcard please.

    (is that even possible to imagine?)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Blimey, at least my Mum is only responsible for my shoe fetish, you may be producing potential arsonists! (Or did you stop before the paper caught fire?) xx

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh you clever lady you! Not so much a mumpreneur as a mumfessor. Just popped by to say thanks for the lovely comment and find I have to admit to abandoning science at school for Art. But at least I am pretty good at making costumes for world book day...but so it seems are you. Talent and brains. Xx

    ReplyDelete
  26. It is so good that you get to use your sciencey talents in school now Val. Enthusing a new generation is wonderfully worthy work. Sounds like tall small may be following in her mum's footsteps!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm very lucky to have two very 'sciency' teenagers who have started to teach me different experiments now i.e. on how to make the homework diary go up in smoke! No seriously, I love learning the different experiments they do. Mr Teenager went to the Big Bang Fair in London last week at the ExCel. His eyes were wide as anything when he came home with everything he saw and did. I think Science is a great subject and makes the children think more about their environment. I'm going to have a go at the rainbow this weekend...if we get some sun!! Take care. Chel

    ReplyDelete
  28. perfect to add to my plans for this week! pinning!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving me some feedback! I love reading your comments and I do my best to reply to them. If Blogger gives me your email address, or if I can find one on your blog I'll try to reply by email; otherwise I'll reply in the comments here.