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Gelatin Prism

Source Institutions

    University of Southern Mississippi

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Gelatin Prism

In this activity, learners make prisms from gelatin. Learners then shine light through the prisms and discover what happens. This activity introduces learners to the idea of refraction. If learners use a white light source, this activity also shows them how white light is actually made up of many colors. Adult supervision recommended.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Knox Gelatin, 21-grams (3-packets)
  • Glycerine, 5-mL
  • Razor blade or suitable cutting implement
  • Distilled water
  • Sandwich plastic container or similar smooth-bottomed container
  • Hot plate
  • Light pen or laser pen
  • Stirrers (popsicle sticks)
  • Beaker, 250-mL
  • Sandwich-sized zipper-type plastic bags
  • 100 mL graduated cylinder


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum
      • Sunlight and Color

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Goates, Wayne


  • All Rights Reserved, Polymer Science Learning Foundation, ©2003


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This resource is part of these lists:

  • Thumbnail Optics by laniconnolly on 2016-01-30