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Is Learning Science a Family Matter?

Colors of the family - Learning Science from home

Neither the sunlight, nor the rain made it to the party.

The thirst for colour though remained.

The crimson bottlebrush flowers and the colourful lantanas around the school campus couldn’t be carried home. There is a general need for some colour to be added to life, so our teachers found a way out!

Our kindergarten children collected a bowl of water and dipped in it their dad’s favourite Compact Disc (CD). We are sure our parents have other ideas of fun, but they complied.

I wonder why?

Anyway, it did not matter if the CD has Pink Floyd or Kishori Amonkar, it is used only as a reflector. You see, all CDs come with a reflective aluminium coating under the relatively tough protective exterior.

The tiresome part is for the little boy to sit still for 30 seconds as mom prepares to hang a piece of the white paper opposite him. Give him a few crayons and say 1-2-3 before switching on the light source. Mom then held the glowing flashlight at the CD immersed in a bowl of water.

Interference patterns of many colours are produced when light reflects off a substance with many small ridges. The result is a spectrum of colours strewn across the wall and paper. One expects the child to yell out first at the result but it is the dad who does.

‘Wow, that is a rainbow!’

Dad who was observing the setup from a distance exclaimed with pure joy.

Well, the colours are for everybody, and age is just a number!

The boy is much more excited now that the entire family is into the experiment, he picked up his favorite Red from the set of crayons and traced it to match the color reflected on to the sheet. This is repeated with different colors till the rainbow is complete.

The boy watched his colorful work with joy and pride.

‘That is a full spectrum,’ dad jumped in.

There is a wonderful look in his eye as he traced the colorful vertical lines on paper. The colors stood bright as a garden against the white sky.

Only then did dad find out his precious CD in water. His face turned pale and his smile vanished.

‘We don’t even have a CD player at home,’ mom sensed his shock and comforted him, ‘and it doesn’t even damage the CD, just cleans it.’ At that, there is a hint of disappointment in her voice. The child grabbed the sheet from his father and wondered at the marvel that is nature, the whole family joined.