In this experiment we will split light into a spectrum. We will use a mirror and water to create a prism. We will learn
about refraction in the process.

Materials Split Light Into Spectrum:

  • Small mirror, a piece of white paper or cardboard, wate
  • Large shallow bowl, pan, or plastic shoebox
  • Window with direct sunlight coming in, or a sunny day outdoor

Process Split Light Into A Spectrum Experiment
1.        Fill the bowl or pan about 2/3 full of water. Place it on a table or the floor, directly in the sunlight. (Note: the direct
sunlight is important for this experiment to work right.)

2.        Hold the mirror under water, facing towards the sun. Hold the paper above and in front of the mirror. Adjust the
positions of the paper and mirror until the reflected light shines on the paper. Observe the colored spectrum.

The Science Behind Split Light Into A Spectrum Experiment
The water and mirror acted like a prism, splitting the light into the colors of the spectrum. (When light passes from one
medium to another, for example from air to water, its speed and direction change. [This is called refraction, and will be
discussed in a future issue.] The different colors of light are affected differently. Violet light slows the most, and bends
the most. Red light slows and bends the least. The different colors of light are spread out and separated, and we can
see the spectrum.)

Now grab some friends and try the Split Light Into A Spectrum Experiment!

Special Thanks to for providing this experiment.
Split light Sprectum
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