YMCA day campers enjoy color

YMCA Day Campers arrived at Kump Education Center on two Country Roads Tour Coaches Wednesday afternoon for the first Summer Science Session of the season.

Nothing will do more to brighten up a day than the arrival of 20 children ages 7 and 8 years. Their multicolored tee shirts fit perfectly with our theme, “Thinking about Color.”

A thunderstorm was in the forecast for the afternoon, but the cheerful attitude of the children brought joy to the old Kump house that is full of plaster dust from six months of electrical renovation. We thought we would be limited to indoor activities if the thunderstorm hit between 1 and 3 p.m.

For that reason, our STREAM team prepared four group activities that would help the Day Campers understand the theory of color even without much sunlight.

William Gartmann has served as a STREAM mentor at Elkins Middle School this school year and plans to become a chef. He helped the students prepare a salad that provides nutrients in a rainbow of color with beta carotene and antioxidants for a healthy rainbow on their plates.

KJ Shaffer helped students experiment with dyes and pigments synthesized from plants. Day Campers learned that onion is a good source of orange dye, and berries can be used to make reds and blues.

The students did their own paintings, using paints to see how the colors mix and how they change each other when they are mixed.

Jeanne Johnson led the group in creating color wheels for decorative design ideas. They learned keywords to help explain the relationships of the colors to one another.

The primary colors (red, yellow and blue) are across the color wheel from the secondary colors (orange, purple and green).

Complimentary colors are opposite each other on a wheel, and analogous colors are side by side.

My students went back into the darkest room of the basement where we could use a flashlight and a prism to create rainbows on the walls. They were able to see the same red, orange, yellow green, blue, indigo, and violet (ROYGBIV) pattern that Sir Isaac Newton found when he first used prisms 250 years ago.

We talked about the ways sunlight is bent or refracted to create the prism effect in nature. I told the children about seeing my first sunbows last winter on a cold, sunny day when the sunlight hit ice particles in the sky. Then we went into the unfinished part of the basement to blow bubbles and see the prism effect on the surface of those ephemeral spheres.

We did not have much sunlight that day, but we could make our own rainbows.