One of the things we learned during our lesson on the sun is that sunlight contains all colours. We learned how colours we see are really what is being reflected back to us. So something that is yellow is reflecting yellow rays of light. White is reflecting all colours, black is absorbing all colours.
One of the activities suggested in our Astronomy Notebook was to use a coffee filter, rubbing alcohol, and a black marker to see how black is really made up of many different colours. I don’t drink coffee and this was the first opportunity I had to find out that there are other types of coffee filters in the world. Instead of white ruffled filters like this, I ended up with brown folded filters like this. Which I didn’t discover until I opened the box at home. Should have looked more closely at the picture!
I’ve never seen that kind before, but like I said, I’m not a coffee drinker. I have no idea if the other kind is available here (just not at my supermarket!). Of course the notebook (made in America) was assuming we were using the first kind, so I had to improvise. I used paper towels. (By the way, paper towels are a different size here. They’re smaller. Why?) I experimented with different black markers and had no luck. I tried a do-a-dot marker and it worked well. (Riot Art & Craft stores sell them individually.) Just a little rubbing alcohol in the bowl, dip the corner of the paper towel and let it absorb up through the black paint.
We quickly had this. See the blue at the edges?
We came back to it a little later and we could see some brown and some purple as well.
Not all the colours of the rainbow, but enough to illustrate that the colour black is made up of more than one colour. Easy, quick activity to supplement our lesson on sunlight and how we see colours. This would be a great book to go along with this activity, The Black Book of Colours. We had it checked out from the library a few weeks ago, wish I’d still had it for this. It’s an interesting book, entirely black but textured and with Braille inside, inviting you to imagine all the colours of the rainbow.