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RAINBOW FACTS

Everyone loves rainbows. So what better way to get your kids engaged with learning than to provide an activity that allows them to express their colourful imagination while they work? Plus rainbows themselves are fascinating and could lead to some interesting science lessons.

What makes rainbows? The answer to this question leads to two different kinds of lessons: one on the refraction of white light into rainbows, and another on the weather and environmental conditions needed to create a rainbow.

  1. It’s really easy to create your own rainbows by refracting light through a prism so that it disperses the different colours within the light. Depending on the age of your students this could just be a fun experiment or it could lead into lessons about the different wavelengths of light, how lenses work, and how we see.
  2. Rainbows occur all the time in nature. Get your students to investigate all the different ways that nature creates rainbows (waterfalls, ocean spray, rain etc.).
  3. The most common way of seeing a natural rainbow is when it’s raining, so why not teach your students about the water cycle. What causes rain? This can be scaled depending on the age of your students. The basic water cycle is a lesson for all ages, but more complex topics like el Niño/la Niña and global warming. The causes of drought and flooding would also be relevant.
  4. For a more creative look at rainbows you develop lessons around the cultural significance. The Dreamtime story of the Rainbow Serpent is extremely important to Australian Indigenous culture. In many traditional cultures rainbows are also seen as bridges to other places. Most cultures have some kind of story about the significance of rainbows, have your students investigate and share their favourites.
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Cindy x

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