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!