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Build an Overhead Projector Spectroscope

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Build an Overhead Projector Spectroscope

This activity guide includes instructions for building a spectroscope using a standard classroom overhead projector. Learners can participate in the construction of the device or simply use it to explore light and the color spectrum. Learners can experiment with colored acetate film filters and bottles of colored solutions to see how they absorb and transmit light.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum
      • Sunlight and Color
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Katz, David A.


  • All Rights Reserved, David A. Katz, ©2002


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  • Thumbnail color by elena on 2013-05-16