Light and Sound

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In this four-part activity, learners explore light and sound through a variety of hands-on investigations. First, learners explore sound waves and observe how sound can travel through other materials. Next, learners explore light waves and use prism glasses to determine which colors (wavelengths or frequencies) of light are in natural light. Then, learners use colored plastic to filter out certain wavelength and control the colors they see. Finally, learners create hidden messages using their knowledge of filters and light. This lesson guide is part of a "Passport to Chemistry Adventure" kit, but the kit is not necessary to facilitate these activities.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • red, blue, and green paint
  • 1 pair diffraction glasses
  • 1 straw
  • 1 paint brush
  • 1 stirrer
  • 3 pieces string
  • 1 wooden dowel
  • 3 cellophane
  • 2 safety goggles
  • notebook
  • metal spoon
  • light sources (such as a flashlight, light bulb, colored light bulb and a candle)


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
      • Hearing
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
    • Chemistry
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Sound
      • Diffraction and Interference
    • Light and Optics
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Elementary Particles and Nuclear Physics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Shaw, Maisie ; Gomez, Maria


  • All rights reserved, Passport to Chemistry Adventure Program, Mount Holyoke College, 2010

Funding Source:

  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.