Science Stop: A Colorful Science Lesson – An extended comment for Mrs. Yollis and class

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Science Stop: A Colorful Science Lesson

Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

Science is one of my favourite subjects. Okay, you probably know just about any school subject is a favourite of mine. It comes from being interested in so many things but science (zoology) was my study at university before I trained as a primary (elementary) teacher.

Light is fascinating. Light is a form of energy. Our very bodies have energy down to the atoms making us up. It’s the way our senses interact with the energy that allows us to see, feel, touch, taste and hear.

At first I was wondering if the students might try to trick you by using chemicals to make unexpected colour changes. Here’s a You Tube link to show how this might be done.

I can see they were very careful about their demonstrations so you were able to predict what colours would result.

Below is a colour diagram I created for you. There are three primary colours in light (red, blue and yellow). Mix equally any two primary colours and you will get a secondary colour (purple, orange and green).  Mixing different amounts of primary or secondary colours can make all of the colours we see. Black is the absence of light whereas white light has all three primaries (which is why a prism can refract white light to show colours and we see rainbows when water droplets refract sunlight).

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We use our eyes to see but do we all see the same? I suspect, being individuals with our own eyes, we don’t see colours in exactly the same way as others. I think there are slight differences but we learn what we see is red or blue, etc. If you could see through someone else’s eyes, the world might look a little different. What do you think?

I heard you all say light travels in a straight line. I don’t say light travels in a straight line. I say something a little different if asked…

Light travels in as straight a line as space allows.

The idea comes from Albert Einstein and his general theory of relativity (big words to explain how things work).

Have you heard of gravity? If we jump up, we are pulled back down by gravity. If you could jump high enough, the Earth’s gravity wouldn’t be able to pull you down but it would have to be a massive jump. Einstein’s theory tells us space is warped (bent out of shape) by gravity. While light travels in straight lines, the “lines” in space are bent.

Does that sound weird? I know it can be hard to get our minds around so I used a striped shirt and a round rock (geode) from my rock collection. Look at the picture below.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Can you see how the stripes on the shirt are pulled inwards and the shirt has bent down under the weight of the rock? If light was the stripes, it would travel in a straight line but space is warped (“bent”). We know this is true because, in a total solar eclipse (where the moon blocks the sun), we can see stars slightly behind the sun. The sun’s gravity has “bent” space so light appears bent.

I know the idea is hard to understand but it’s one of those fascinating things about our world. I’m not an expert in science but have fun thinking about it. I always hope I get my facts correct. 🙂

Have a great winter break. I look forward to your shared learning adventures in 2013.

@RossMannell

Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

7 thoughts on “Science Stop: A Colorful Science Lesson – An extended comment for Mrs. Yollis and class

  1. Heather (Mrs. Yollis' class)

    Dear Mr. Mannell,

    Thank you for leaving a comment on our blog and making a post just for us. You are a knowlegeable person.

    The Youtube video was exceptional. In Youtube, there are millions of videos. How did you find such a outstanding video? How long did it take you to find the vidio?

    Gravity is just pleasant. You know a lot about science.

    Warmly,
    Heather

    Reply
    1. rossmannell

      Post author

      Hello Heather,

      My apologies for taking a week to reply. Over the Christmas/New Year period I set myself a task of scanning all old photos, negatives and slides as well as making digital copies of the many videos I have made over the years teh task still isn’t finished). The numbers are huge but it’s interesting to do because it’s a way of looking back through history.

      Knowledgeable? I find I am interested in so many things in our world I know a little about many but not a large amount about any. My trick is being able to find the information when I need it.

      Did you know the more you learn you will most likely find you’ll realize how little you know? There is so much in our world we can learn if only we open our minds up to the possibilities.

      The You Tube video didn’t take very long to find. If you search using good key words, You Tube will help you find many clips. It’s then only a matter of deciding which best suits you needs.

      Science… My degree studies in university (college) were in science but I decided I wanted to be a primary (elementary) school teacher. This allowed me to teach many subjects, something not possible if I had remained in science alone or been a high school teacher.

      I hope 2013 is already bringing many exciting learning adventures for you and your class. 🙂

      @RossMannell

      Reply
      1. Heather

        @ Mr. Mannell,

        I took even longer to reply!

        Your trick is nice. 🙂 I thought it was hard to find that movie. If it was me, it will probably take me at least one month! :-O

        I bet you made a valuable teacher. When I grow up, I want to be a veterinarian because pets are cute and if you be a veterinarian, you might ear a lot of money. Is there a reason you like to be a teacher?

        Your friend,
        Heather

        Reply
        1. rossmannell

          Post author

          Hello Heather,

          I’m sorry it took me two weeks to reply to your reply. I set myself a large task of converting over 100 video into computer files as well as scanning over 2000 photos and photo negatives. While I’m still scanning photo negatives, I’ve returned to blog commenting. 🙂

          From the time I was about 7 years old I said I wanted to be a teacher. I did have other ideas but it always came back to teaching. Back then, primary (elementary) school teachers normally didn’t have degrees but I chose to study science at university (college).

          While i could have taught in a high school, I chose primary school because I wanted to teach all sorts of subjects whereas in high school I would probably only have taught maths and science. I didn’t take up teaching because I wanted a high salary, I thought I could make a difference in the lives of my students.

          While I didn’t study to be a vet, part of my degree included studying animal physiology (how their bodies work) and animal behaviour. Even today I have an interest in animals and have many photos.

          Keep blogging,
          @RossMannel

          Reply
  2. Linda Y♥llis

    @ Mr. Mannell,

    Thanks so much for all you do for us and for your virtual students throughout the world. You help make all subjects more interesting!

    You don’t need to comment back, as I know you are busy. Just wanted you to know how much I admire you!

    Your friend,
    Mrs. Y♥llis
    California

    Reply
    1. rossmannell

      Post author

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

      While I have been busy scanning negatives and photos plus making digital copies of VHS videos I’ve made over the many years, I haven’t forgotten blog commenting. I didn’t realise how much time would be spent on the scanning task nor that there were well over 2000 to do. My hope is the collected works over the years might include some great resources for blogging and this seems to be true but the task also brings many great memories of students now adults.
      We can never know, as teachers, how many lives we influence directly or indirectly in our journey. I only hope most have been positive. 🙂

      Reply

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