Colors of Spring
Spring arrives in March and in Northern USA with it the return of green grass, colorful flowers, blossoming trees. Let’s celebrate with experiments that explain color.
1) Experiment: Is green, the color of grass, Kermit and St. Patrick’s Day festivals, really green?
Materials: Green marker, paper towel, scissors, water and clear drinking glass.
Process: Cut a strip of paper towel inch wide by seven inches long. Make a inch diameter dot of green two inches from the bottom of one end of the strip of paper towel. Fill the glass with one inch of water. Hang the end of the paper towel with the green dot over the side of the glass so clear inch of towel below the dot is in the water – make sure the green dot is not in the water. Let stand for 15 minutes and observe.
Result: The green spot is gone. The area above where the green dot was has turned blue and the area above that is yellow. The science is thus: water moves up the paper just as sap moves up a tree. Colors in markers are combinations of inks. In this example, the green dissolved into its original blue and yellow. Since the colors do not move at the same rate, the colors separate on the paper strip.
2) Do your eyes play tricks with your brain when observing color?
Materials: Paper plate, scissors, poster paints red and blue and two 15-inch lengths of string.
Process: Paint one side of the plate red and the other side blue. Punch a hole in opposite sides of the plate and insert and secure a 15-inch length of string in each. Hold the plate by the string and spin the plate between the two strings.
Result: What color do you see? As you spin the plate, the individual colors of red and blue will disappear and your brain will see purple because your brain’s interpretation of what you see will mix the two colors together.
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