Sounds and colours are all around us, all the time. And sometimes we don’t really notice. The Sun is in the sky, even on a cloudy day; the stars are always there whether it’s day or night. We talk to each other, enjoy music and use machines; and animals use sounds to communicate too. It’s easy when we are busy at school or work or at home or in between to take for granted that our world is colourful and noisy.
But what are sound and colour made of? Do they move? And, if so, which is faster?
Have you ever held up a shiny metal spoon in front of your face to see your reflection? And have you noticed that your reflection changes if you switch from looking at one side of the spoon to the other? Your face will be the right way up when you look at the back of the spoon but upside-down when you look at the bowl of the spoon.
The other morning, my elder daughter was studying her face in a spoon instead of using it to eat her breakfast. She noticed the change in her reflection when turning the spoon around and it got her thinking: Why am I upside-down on one side of the spoon? Why does a spoon work like a mirror? And why don’t I ever look upside-down in a mirror?
The answer to all these questions is physics, so let’s find out more…!
Light is all around us. The Sun shines on the Earth every day and we use electric lights or candles to light our homes, schools and workplaces. We use torches or streetlights when we are out and about at night and build fires for light and warmth when we go camping. Even in the middle of the night, there is some light from the stars in the sky.
But one of my daughter’s schoolfriends asked me how light is made. And her brilliant question made me think about natural and man-made light sources.
So, let’s find out more about light – what it is and how it is made…
“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me…”, so goes the poem ‘My Shadow‘ by Robert Louis Stevenson. My 2-year-old likes to chase her shadow when we go out walking but my elder daughter wants to know where shadows come from…
Today, we went for a stroll at Westonbirt Arboretum – a good opportunity to answer this question about why trees are green.
Trees and many other plants look green because their leaves and sometimes their stems contain a substance called chlorophyll. The word ‘chlorophyll’ comes from two Greek words that mean ‘green’ and ‘leaf’.
Rainbows are captivating. They are bright and colourful and look pretty in the sky but how are they made?
Well, to understand the answer, you need to know three things about light: