The Newton Disc is a simple science experiment that you can do at home. Discovered in 1686 by Issac Newton, a Newton disc features rainbow-colored segments. The colors on the wheel represent the primary colors of white light, such as those found in the rainbow. While the wheel spins, it creates a visual effect (persistence of vision) that leads your brain to believe the colors are merging and that the wheel is white when it is actually multicolored.
Materials needed for the experiment
Children will have a blast making their own Newton discs and learning about how the colors of the rainbow can be combined to produce white light. This is an excellent way to teach your child physics in a unique and creative way! You can find all of the materials you need for this experiment at home. Are you ready for some fun? Let’s start!
You will need
- White Paper
- Colored Markers or Crayons
- Hole Punch ( optional )
How to make Newton Disc
You can print out the Newton Disc (color wheel ) from HERE. Color it, cut it and then glue it onto a cardboard disc of the same size. Or, you can make your own as per instructions below.
- Cut a cardboard disc and two white paper discs that are the same size.
- Glue the paper discs to both sides of the cardboard.
- Divide each paper disc into seven equal segments. ( Each segment will have an angle of 51 degrees).
- Color the segments in the order VIBGYOR with the seven colors of the rainbow ( Violet – Indigo – Blue – Green – Yellow – Orange – Red ). The color wheel is ready.
Make two holes 1 cm apart in the center of the cardboard and thread the string through them, making a loop at each end.
Newton disc is complete.
Place a finger into the end of each loop and flip the disc several times over the string until the string is thoroughly twisted.
Pull your hands apart and slack the string.
The disc should now be spinning.
COLOR CHANGING DISC- THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT
Sir Isaac Newton discovered the colors in white light in a famous experiment in which he split a ray of white light into its color component using two prisms. The Newton Disc is a simpler way to demonstrate how different colors combine to form white light.
The Newton disc is based on a concept called optical mixing. This experiment demonstrates that white light is a combination of all seven colors in a rainbow. The color wheel displays the frequencies that make up the visible spectrum. The perception of a picture or a color stays in the human brain for a fraction of a second. when the disc rotates fast enough the perception of the color changes to white. This is because white light is nothing but the mixture of light of all wavelengths in the visible range.The light from all the colors hits your eye almost at the same time. This tricked the eye into thinking it was seeing white light.
Doing science experiments at home for kids is an easy way to introduce the basic principles of scientific exploration in a fun and engaging manner. You can do these with items that you probably already have around! There are so many great posts on our website about STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) activities, if you’re looking just check some of them here.
If you found this science experiment useful for kids, please share below so that others can also enjoy doing it. Thank you !
This is fascinating! I like that you included the video of the wheel spinning so that you can really see what you’re trying to recreate. I’ve been trying a lot of science and STEM activities with my daughter. She loves it. We’ll try this one in the future!
My World Their Way says
Thank you Dana. My younger son loves science and exploring things and is the motivation behind all the science experiments 🙂
Lindsey Harrison says
Thank you for sharing, I will be saving to try with my daughter. She always plays with my paint fan decks so I know she’d love this!
My World Their Way says
I am glad you liked this activity for your daughter.