Color Analyzers: Investigating Light and Color

GEMS Teacher's Guide fo Grades 5—8

Written by John Erickson and Carolyn Willard.

Teasing a rainbow from a lightbulb. Decoding messages from abstract art. Unveiling the answer to why an apple looks red. Through these activities and others in this unit, students are immediately and physically involved in investigations of light, color, and the wonders of how our eyes work.

This New GEMS version of the classic GEMS guide adds one classroom session to the activities found in the original, reorders the presentation of activities to increase the effectiveness of the lessons, and provides extensive teacher background on student misconceptions relating to color and light and the related science.

Experimenting with color filters, students decipher secret messages—and create their own—as they learn how certain colors are better reflected from some items than others—why that apple looks red, for instance. They use diffraction gratings to appreciate how many "hidden" colors a source gives off, even though our naked eye perceives only one.

A background section provides information on color, light, and how the eye and brain sense and comprehend color. The guide's colorful front cover camouflages a secret message used in class activities; the back cover's photo of a nebula, when viewed through different filters, helps students understand how color filters help astronomers scan the heavens.

Two other GEMS guides, More Than Magnifiers and
Microscopic Explorations, make excellent connections to this unit.

The class set of color filters and diffraction gratings necessary for these activities must be purchased separately. The set is available through Carolina Biological Supply Company. To order call 1-800-334-5551 extension 6252 and request part number 11-4306.

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Spanish Language Student Materials

What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.

ISBN: Grade Level Format Price


Grades 5—8

5 sessions,
88 pages


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