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Rainbow Day

Social Studies Lesson
for Rainbow Day

The students will explore Sir Isaac Newton as the scientist who discovered the spectrum of light and create a timeline of scientific discoveries and inventions.



  1. Read the book or share information off a website regarding Isaac Newton as an important scientist in our history.  Specifically discuss how he discovered white light is composed of all the colors in the spectrum.  He did this by using a prism and sunlight.
  2. Discuss how many important discoveries and inventions occurred throughout history.  Isaac Newton discovered the spectrum in 1666.
  3. Work as a class to create a timeline featuring other important discoveries.  Use the following link for reference; http://www.crimsonbird.com/science/timeline.htm.  The detail of the timeline will depend on the age of the children.    For example younger children may just need 4-5 points on their timeline - 1. 1500's a scientist discovered that the planets revolve around the sun, 2. 1600's Isaac Newton discovered the spectrum of light, 3. 1700's  the hot air balloon was invented, 4. 1800's the steam boat was invented, 5. 1900's the first airplane took flight.  Older students may include more dates on their timeline.  For younger students this will be a more general lesson on what a timeline is and what it represents.


Other Lesson Ideas

  1. Have a lesson on Hawaii, where rainbows occur more often than other parts of the country, due to its climate. 
  2. Discuss rainbows and how they play a part in various folklore.  A good variety of these are discussed in the book The Rainbow and You by E.C. Krupp.


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