Studying Color and Brightness Through Light

Children are naturally curious and strive to understand the world around them. This desire to explore their natural surroundings creates powerful opportunities for intellectual stimulation and growth. We value using light (in all its forms) as a ‘language’ to help support the children’s curiosity, investigation, and discovery. Furthermore, we believe that it enables them to engage in their surroundings in a way that brings wonder, intrigue, and excitement. In particular, using neon lights for discovery offers different levels of visual stimulation and perception to the children, supporting interest and enhancing both scientific thinking and cognitive development that promotes explorations in science, math, art, and language.

Our intention for this proposal was to present the children with a variety of colors that they could recognize, and perhaps identify. We chose these materials specifically to highlight the way their color reflected underneath the black light. Some materials had these properties while others did not (whereas they were not fluorescent). Through our observations, we were able to observe the children’s deep interest in the brightness of the colors, capturing their attention as they expressed curiosity and demonstrated concentration as they analyzed everything around them.


 C.: After exploring all the materials, he showed a great interest in interacting with his friends, where they all enjoyed manipulating the rainbow spring with their hands. We observed him stretching the spring out, demonstrating a sense of joy as he noticed the brightness of the colors reflecting in the light. He walked around with it for a bit, placing it close to other materials to see if the light reflected. When he realized that T. was projecting a rainbow spring onto the wall, he imitated his movements and marveled at the discovery that they both had made.

J.: Upon discovering how some objects illuminated in the light, she began to collect them and transport them from one place to another to verify their brightness. She enjoyed examining and analyzing each of the materials with her friends.

Ja.: Dedicated himself to observing and analyzing how some materials glowed, focusing his attention on manipulating the rainbow slinky. He lifted it from the floor and held it up to his face, observing it closely. His expression seemed to reflect his curiosity and interest in the object. He then placed his arm inside of a cylinder, as if he were wanting it to glow. He was very observant throughout the entire proposal.


After analyzing the brightness of the rainbow slinky, he began to manipulate it, placing it over him as if he were trying to fit inside of it! He then took it over to the wall and observed how the light was reflected, moving the slinky to watch as the light moved.

Made several discoveries regarding the brightness of color in the materials. She noticed how several of the spheres glowed in the light, while others served more as a mirror as they did not project light. She then took a fluorescent sheet of paper and began to manipulate several stars, noticing how she could see the shadows on the paper, “Shadow!”

Explored the brightness of the colors with the rainbow slinky, analyzing how it reflected onto other surfaces and how the movement of the reflection was dependent on her own movement. She watched in awe as her hands and skin glowed when she placed the rainbow slinky on them. She then moved closer to the wall and began to make different movements. Upon noticing the paper, she picked it up and began to move it from one place to another without losing sight of the glow it produced with her movements.

Took her time in analyzing the materials. After a while, she discovered how some materials were different from the others in that some lit up and some did not. She then began to place smaller fluorescent items into the larger nonfluorescent items to make them light up, such as placing a ball inside of a glass and then the slinky inside of a bowl.

Note: All the children perceived how some materials glowed and others did not, leading them to search for the materials that were the brightest. This fulfilled one of our hypotheses of how the children would recognize the difference between the materials that were fluorescent and those that were not.

Contributing Educators: Diana Hurtado, Gabriela Urdaneta, Jennyfer Rincón, Chelsie Braun

Like this Blog?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Professional Learning Community

This digital space is for educators who wish to join our Professional Learning Community. We’re almost ready for you. Once we’re all set, we’ll share details to your inbox