For the Spring/Summer 2023 Fintona File, Anna Crozier shares about the journey of exploration Fintona's ELC children took to learn more about rainbows.
‘Look, there are rainbows on the ground’, ‘there’s a rainbow on my hand’, and ‘there are rainbows everywhere, up and down’ exclaimed the enthusiastic boys and girls in ELC as sunlight streamed through the windows during group time. This magical moment ignited a barrage of questions and sparked an intriguing inquiry into the science of rainbows, and further investigation into what makes up a rainbow and how they are created.
To embark on this rainbow learning journey, the students reflected on what they already knew about these captivating optical wonders and shared their insights with each other. One student said, ‘rainbows come from the sky, the crystal, and the sun’, and another said, ‘the sun makes a rainbow when it bumps into a crystal’. These thoughts were complemented by observations about how rainbows appear after the rain, and sometimes you can see them in a glass of water when it’s in the sun.
The students’ curiosity led the class to delve deeper into the subject, unearthing some fascinating answers. Rainbows, the students discovered, are created when sunlight is dispersed by water droplets, such as raindrops or fog. By looking through a glass of water, the students learned about the science of refraction, where light changes direction as it passes through a medium denser than air, like a raindrop. The rainbows the students witnessed were created when the sunlight passed through a prism hanging in the ELC classroom, capturing the beams of light streaming in through the high windows. The students’ exploration also unveiled that rainbows always display their colours in a consistent order, and to observe a rainbow, the sun must be behind you.
This journey of inquiry not only deepened their understanding and kindled new predictions, but also inspired the boys and girls to express their newfound knowledge through art.
The students experimented with 2D and 3D art forms, using materials like paint, recycled items, plasticine, and markers to make their own rainbows. They also loved singing the rainbow song using sign language.