Spinning Your (Color) Wheels

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
In this optics activity, learners use everyday materials to make a color wheel. When learners spin the wheel like a top, they will be surprised to see all the colors mixing together to appear white. Use this activity to introduce learners to color and the visible spectrum.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Pushpin
  • Pencil eraser
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Markers or crayons in all the ROY G BIV colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet
  • Uncoated white paper plate (dessert or lunch size)


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Optical Society of America, 2008