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How Our Environment Affects Color Vision

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    National Health Museum

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How Our Environment Affects Color Vision

In this lab (Activity #1 on page), learners explore how we see color. Learners set up an experiment to evaluate how a group of learners view different colors as presented on different background colors and under different lighting conditions. Learners collect data and then answer questions to help them analyze their findings. Learners will consider how designers make choices about colors when creating products and marketing materials.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

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


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Construction paper of several different colors
  • 2 or 3 pieces of different colored cardboard (approximately 12" by 18")
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Room where lighting can be varied (lights on and off, shades or open closed, etc.)
  • Chart to record the results


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
      • Perception
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Sunlight and Color
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
  • 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
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

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


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Szaflarski, Ph.D., Diane M.


  • All Rights Reserved, Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum, ©2009