This list consists of lesson plans, activities and ideas to support the teaching of science through the topic of 'Colour'. It contains ideas for how to link science to the topic, tips on using the resources, suggestions for further use and background subject knowledge to support teachers in delivering the science objectives through this topic. Resources support the teaching of the science topics living things and their habitats, properties and changes of materials, light and evolution. This enables teachers to choose which aspect of science they would like to teach within the overarching topic.
Visit the primary resources for cross curricular topics webpage to access all resource lists:
Links and Resources
This activity pack is full of activities on the theme of colour. Find out how to make a rainbow, how a caterpillar avoids being eaten, how cabbages can be used as magic ink and why red plus green equals yellow!
Activity 3 is an easy way of spiltting white light into its different colours. White light travelling in a straight line appears colourless, but there’s more to light than meets the eye. White light is actually made up of lots of different colours. All the colours of the rainbow, in fact. You have to split white light to see the different colours, and this is exactly what you have done! Raindrops also split light. When sunlight shines though raindrops, the different coloured rays spread out at different angles, and you see a curved band of colours across the sky, which you know as a rainbow. The colour of light depends on how long its waves are, so we see different colours because each colour has a different wavelength. In other words, when we see colours, we are really seeing light of different wavelengths. Red light has the longest waves, orange is slightly shorter, and so on. Violet has the shortest wavelengths
Activity 6 involves investigating whether an ice cube will melt faster on different coloured materials. This provides an opportunity to learn about reversible change as well as the suitability of materials. Linked to this activity, children could perhaps research why certain professions wear clothes made in different colours.
Activity 14 is an interesting investigation looking at whether plants will grow towards different coloured lights. It could be used to teach children about photosynthesis if they are ready for this. Equally, it provides a great opportunity for children to plan a fair test.
As part of children's research into the life processes of plants, they will look at the role that petals play in reproduction.
Children could spend time carrying out surveys into the colours of petals; they could also carry out independent research into the types of insects that pollinate different flowers and why that is. Bees, for example, are often attracted to bright blue and violet colours.
This is a great extension to the Light topic in Year 6. This simple demonstration shows children how to 'make a rainbow' using only a glass of water, a mirror and some sunlight!
The teachers' notes provide the scientific background to explain what is happening. More able children may be able to understand this. There are also some fascinating facts about the history of colour. Did you know, for example, that one of the reasons that Mary is often depicted wearing a blue robe is because blue paint was expensive to make, and artists wanted to signify Mary's importance?
Turtles have evolved to be dark on top and light underneath. This is covered as part of the very detailed PowerPoint. Children could discuss how this adaptation would be advantagous to turtles and how this adaptation may have come about.
Is is important that children do not develop the misconception that turtles have chosen to be coloured in this way.
Children could investigate other animals that have this colour pattern, and why this might be. A recent BBC article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37376893) also discusses how some dinosaurs may have had this colour pattern.
This set of eight enquiry-based activities aimed at 8-10 year olds allows pupils to study light and colour using spectroscopes and colour wheels. Pupils work individually or in groups to build a spectroscope that can be used to look at light sources. They look at the composition of white light and how complex colours are made up of combinations of the three basic colours (red, green and blue). They can then make their own complex colours by mixing basic colours in a colour wheel, and can make white light with a colour wheel containing all the colours of the rainbow.
This video demonstrates an experiment which may be used when learning about separating ink through chromatography. Different coloured inks are dotted onto strips of water colour paper and then strips then placed in water. The different colours in the dye separate out at different points on the strip. This demonstration could be carried out in class with children predicting what will happen when using different inks. Washable pens and sweets are used in this experiment as their pigments are water soluble. Although some inks often only appear to be made up of one colour, they are usually composed of a number of different pigments. As the water moves up and outwards onto the circle of paper, the different pigments are carried through the paper at varying speeds. Pigments which are more soluble in water move through the filter paper at a faster rate and will travel further from the centre than those which are less soluble; this should cause a series of concentric, differently coloured circles to form on the paper.
CPD trainer Deborah Herridge shows a group of primary science teachers a simple technique for recording woollen caterpillars which will transform a tally chart into a pictogram and cover some of the criteria for varying the representation of data. This exercise also introduces students to the importance of camouflage to animals.
Michaela Strachan introduces children to the concept of camouflage, making explicit links to how some animals have evolved to become camouflaged. Michaela directly addresses the misconception that some children have whereby they think that animals have chosen to become camouflaged.
The game that is played with children involving 'pinkies' would be fantastic to replicate. A slightly less resource-heavy version could be played using coloured wool (worms?!) on grass.