This summer I decided to add a science club to our usual summer learning club lineup. I wanted an activity that was appropriate for the older kids, that would encourage children to work together with each other and with their parents, and that would provide a learning experience while also being a lot of fun. Thus science club was born.
Each week follows the same format: I begin with an explanation of the science concept we're studying, followed by a short video reinforcing what I have said. After the video (I usually shoot for five minutes or less), I explain the day's experiment, pass out supplies, and proceed to circulate throughout the room to answer questions or photograph successes (and failures).
For the first week I decided to do a less complicated and not supply-heavy project, as I wasn't sure how many kids I would have at the program. At the beginning of the program there were maybe a dozen kids in the room, but by the time I had finished my explanation and the video there were nearly fifty.
Here's what we did:
Our first topic was color and how colors combine to make white light. The kids made color wheels and spun them to see the white light that is produced when colors are mixed together. We had to experiment with the length of the string and the speed of the spin, but many children were able to be successful with their experiment.
- Divide a circle into sixths. Get these as close to perfect as possible.
- Color each sixth with one rainbow color. [If you are a color purist and wish to include indigo, divide your circle into sevenths.]
- Glue the circle to a piece of cardboard and cut it out so it will be stiffer.
- Punch two holes near the center of the circle. You can use the end of a pair of scissors to do this.
- Thread a string through the holes and tie a knot in the string so it makes a loop through the circle.
- Hold one end of the string in each hand and spin the circle kind of like you are turning a jump rope.
- When the string is wound tightly, pull the ends so the circle spins. It might take several tries to make this work.
When the circle spins fast enough, the colors blur together to make white. It's really neat to watch the looks on kids' faces when they finally get it to work.