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# Science Activity: Spectacular Spectrums (page 2)

By Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

#### Shining Light through an Audiocassette Case Containing Water

You'll be using only the top part of the case (that is, the part the cassette slides into). Remove all parts of the label on the case. Hold the case upright, so that the small enclosed part is at the bottom, and carefully add water until it's almost filled.

Darken the room again.

Your partner should once again be ready to tape a piece of white paper on the wall where the spectrum appears.

Pick up the audiocassette case and move it near the wall. Turn on the flashlight and hold it near the case, aiming the light into the water. As you did earlier, move the flashlight up and down, back and forth,a dn over and under the container until you see a spectrum somewhere on the wall or floor. It will be a small patch of colors. (Hint: Be sure to look in back of you as you search!)

When you find the spectrum, give your partner a little time to study and memorize it. Then turn the lights back on, and have him or her draw the pattern using the colored markers or crayons. Turn off the lights and check the spectrum a few times to make sure the drawing matches the pattern on the wall.

### 3. Think and Write

Study the drawings of the spectrums. In a short paragraph, describe how you could use what you learned in this activity to invent a way of making white light by putting the colors back together. Imagine that you have as much equipment as you need! Make a labeled drawing to show how your idea would work.

### Explanation

White light is actually a mixture of many different colors, but they aren't visible until the light is broken up. You can do this with a triangular piece of glass called a prism or any clear container of water. The light that leaves the prism or water forms a pattern of colors called a spectrum.