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Who hasn’t heard the classic song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow“? It is immediately recognizable and brings to mind images of Dorothy and Toto in the 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz.
Although rainbows are not mentioned in the original book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum, they are often associated with the story (thanks to the famous movie). Since we thought this would be a fun way to add a little science to our book study we decided to keep with the theme and add a few color and rainbow learning activities to our studies of Oz.
We began by talking with the kids about rainbows — how they are created, what colors are visible in a rainbow, and more. To help with our explanations we used a few online resources to introduce these concepts.
- We watched a couple of videos about rainbows – we really liked this one from 60 Second Science.
- We used data from The National Center for Atmospheric Research to explain the physical processes involved in the formation of a rainbow and to even cover a little history of the study of rainbows.
- When we reviewed the colors of the rainbow we shared a few mnemonic phrases to help us remember all of the colors — the ones we were most familiar with included “Roy G. Biv” and “Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain” (does your family have other fun phrases to help them remember the colors of the rainbow?).
Before we were finished we had to include a hands-on activity to help bring the learning to life (the children’s favorite part) so we opted for an activity that gave everyone an opportunity to blend colors and make unique rainbows.
For our color blending activity we used the following supplies
- Sharpie pens
- Rubbing alcohol
- Plastic dropper bottles
- Plastic cups
- Rubber bands
- A cotton bag (a pillow case or t-shirt would also work well). We used white canvas bags that we purchased at our local fabric store.
Here is a quick video from Steve Spangler Science that demonstrates the activity:
For even more rainbow related activities check out our World Study Guide for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
We hope your family has fun imagining what is possible “somewhere over the rainbow!”
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