The Three Little Pigments: Science activity that demonstrates the primary and secondary colors of lightScience activity that demonstrates the primary and secondary colors of light The Three Little Pigments Know your C, M, Y, and K.

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Align four color transparencies, each one a single color (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), and see a beautiful full color image. Make sure you have access to a color printer that can print to a transparency (or uses a specific type of transparent material designed for your printer) or print shop.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Clear acetate transparencies (the kind used for an overhead projector)
  • Color printer (make sure that your printer will print on acetate—laser printers and inkjet printers might require different types of acetate)
  • A bright light source, such as a lamp, a projector, or a sunny window


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Photography and Film/Video