Chasing Rainbows

  • Time Length
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    1-2 hours

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
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Question and Wonder:

  • I wonder where rainbows come from.
  • Where do they end?
  • Why do we only see them after rain?
  • Have you ever wondered what’s on the other side of a rainbow?
  • Does everyone see the same rainbow?

Imagine and Design:

  • How could you create a rainbow?
  • What tools would you need?
  • If you could travel by rainbow, what would that look like? Where would you go?

Grab a flashlight, a glass of water and a piece of plain white paper. Set the glass of water on the paper and shine the flashlight through the water. Try different angles.

Test and Discuss:

  • What did you observe? Were you able to create a rainbow?
  • What does that tell you about water and rainbows?
  • Can you make a rainbow with your hose? How?
  • What else could you use to make a rainbow?

Extension Activities:

  • Notice what happens when the sun shines through a window in your house and see if you can find rainbows on your wall. Chase them around the room as the sun moves.
  • Go on a rainbow clothing hunt. Look for shirts with rainbows, or items that are one specific color of the rainbow. Red one day. Blue the next. Then orange, etc.
  • Write a story about traveling on a rainbow. Share it with family and friends.

Did you know:

Rainbows are formed when light shines through water, like when the sun shines through the rain. This light is bent and reflected, like a reflection in a mirror, and this causes all of the amazing colors that you see.

Rainbows normally appear from the rain, but they can happen wherever light is being bent inside of water droplets. Rainbows can be seen in mist, fog, spray, and dew.

Rainbows are made up of all seven colors that come from light. These colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

A great way to remember these colors is the think of the acronym, which seems like a man’s name:


Rainbows are actually circles but they look like arches when we view them from the ground.


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