Tell Me What You See | Fun Science Activity (Optics)

in Home Edders9 months ago

The Colors of Light

Today we continue our Science discoveries with the Great Lab of Sciences! The activity box has really been engaging and we have tons of fun each time.

This time, we learned about Optics -- the science that studies all aspects of sight and the behavior of light. Think about eyeglasses, magnifying lenses, telescopes, microscopes, and cameras! These devices were created with the help of optics.

Inside our Great Lab of Sciences box, we have two activities related to Optics. First, we picked up Newton's disc. It was a fairly simple item, but really cool once we started to discover what it does. There were only two components to the Newton's disk:

  • a round card with all the colors of the rainbow
  • spinning top

Newton's Disc

Newton's Disc was created by Isaac Newton to prove his theory that white light is formed by the combination of the seven colors of the rainbow.

By spinning this simple tool, the colors on the disc are transformed into a whitish hue. This is an effect of a phenomenon called persistence of vision, where the colors "mix" in our brain when an object moves at high speed.

Our eyes overlap the colors and the brain reads this information as the combination of all the colors of the solar light -- white.


We had fun taking turns in spinning the disc. At one point, we even had a challenge of who can successfully drop and insert the colored cardboard to the spinning top while it is moving. Such great fun, playing with and discovering colors and light!


The Periscope

When we were done with the Newton's disc, Little Miss decided that it was time to assemble the periscope.

A periscope is an optical device consisting of lenses or mirrors that allow the user to observe his surrounding while below the one that is being observed. Periscopes are used in submarines and were also used to spy on enemies' movements during World War II!

To create the periscope, the Great Lab of Sciences activity box provided:

  • a tall rectangular box with flaps and slots to support the mirrors
  • two mirrors (actually just a cardboard with shiny surface)


"I look weird!"

Little Miss had fun assembling the periscope. She curiously read the instructions provided in the Science manual.

Sticking the "mirror" to the flap.

The cardboard box provided support to the mirrors which are placed parallel to each other at an angle of 45°, at the opposite ends.

The light enters from the top and it bounces between the mirrors. The one closest to the eye (the lower one) reflects the image that appears at the top opening, thus allowing the user to observe the surroundings while remaining hidden.

I see a green cup!

Since the mirrors that were provided were not too good (they were cardboard), we intend to make another periscope using actual mirrors and see how well it functions. In the meanwhile, we still enjoyed the funny reflections we got with this one!

Our previous Great Lab of Sciences Activities:
Anatomy For Kids: The Human Skeleton
My (Patient) Little Paleontologists
Our First Science Activity for 2021: Planting

Up next... the volcano!

This is but another baking soda and vinegar experiment, which we have done several times already. But hey, what's wrong with another, right?! We will definitely share that when the kids decide to do it. In the meanwhile, have some fun with this "mentows" video by Little Man. 😁

❤️ Arlyn


Periscopes are great fun XD back when the kids were little there was one on their cubby house that could detach, and it would often just end up in random places as they'd pull it off the cubby and play games that involved looking around the corners of the house.

A couple of years ago we went to Scitech and one of their persistent activities is a bunch of pipes, some with mirrors on them, that you can make varying length periscopes from. My eldest spent an inordinate amount of time on this activity as he randomly decided that he wanted his periscope to go through all four of the holes.


It was a bit of a puzzle to solve as he had to double the periscope back along itself to get through one of the holes XD but he succeeded (using up every single part that was available). It was just sad that I couldn't get any good shots down it :<

Guess your mirrors were cardboard to prevent them from breaking in transit (and/or avoid lawsuits from Knomiras), and you got some amusing reflections out of it XD

Did you manage to get actual mirrors for another periscope to compare?

Well look at that periscope he built. Definitely next level! <3

We still need to make one with actual mirrors, perhaps level it up a bit in terms of structure too. 🤔 The cardboard "mirrors" are really funny, it gives distorted reflections. haha

Oh with the cardboard mirrors, if you haven't already, play around with them, see what happens when you push the edges inwards or outwards or bend corners away from or towards each other :)


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WOW, it sounds fun. I can't wait to try it.

Yes! Even I had fun with it. Try it too, I am sure you will enjoy it with Monkey-B! <3