Colored Shadows

Stories of Light – Light Investigations; Colored Shadows

lascuolablog Atelier, Teaching and Learning

The Atelier provides students the opportunity to explore the physics phenomenon of light and colored shadows in the classroom and schoolyard.

One of the greatest benefits of the ateliers for La Scuola students is that they provide ample space to develop the students’ ideas and confidence in tackling the unknown. This blog post is a sneak peak into the fabulous work on the topic of “light and shadows” that our Kindergarten students and Atelierista Federica Gallone did earlier in the school year.

Light, whether natural or artificial, is a Physics phenomenon that we encounter every day in our lives.  This phenomenon has always had a big impact on our life and on that of plants.  Read on as we share some short stories of daily experiences in the atelier, as the Kindergarteners discovered the various phenomena.

How many luminous phenomena are there?  Where can we meet them in our daily life?

Atelierista:  How is a shadow born?

“The sun goes on the objects, but the objects are not transparent.  The light cannot pass between them, so the black shadow is created.”                                          – Wells

Atelierista:  What color is a shadow?

The first answer is almost always the same . . . it is black!   However, through the students’ curiosity and experiments with various materials, they learned that some shadows can also be colored.

Taking advantage of a sunny day at our Mission campus, the students went outside in the school yard with some color filters.  Carlo, Luca, Francis and Kyrian immediately started playing with the filters and quickly realized that their shadows were not black, but rather colored.

Atelierista:  Why is it that our clothes, despite being colored, do not project colored shadows?

“I do not know.”                                                                                                               – Kyrian

“It’s the material. It’s transparent, so light gets through!”                                            – Carlo

The research continues. The children begin to tackle more experiments. First they mix the colors by superimposing the filters. Then they realize that by inserting the filters in the railing on the floor, circular colored shadows appears. And the games doesn’t end there . . .

Some students start creating a real light installation in the school yard, using small color filters.  These colored filters in relation to luminous phenomena such as light and shadows create a play of colors on the asphalt that intrigues the children.

Kindergartener Sasha W. realizes that by looking through the small filter porthole that the school yard has a new light.  “Look, Federica . . . if you look here, the school yard is all red!”

Together, the students observe the school yard through all the colored filters, a somewhat unusual view.  This amuses and intrigues Sasha and the other students.  Federica then proposes to Sasha to also take some photos of our “color schoolyard” and he accepts with great enthusiasm.

Students MJ and Sasha realize that the filters also change the color of their clothes.

Astrid and Isla instead notice that they can also change the color of their skin.

How many discoveries does light still hide from us?  Let’s find out together; see you in the next episode.

Written by Federica Gallone, 

Atelierista for the La Scuola San Francisco Preschool and Mission Campuses

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