Science Shorts: Nothing But Blue Skiesby: Barbara Adams

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Why is the sky blue? Why are sunsets orange and red? These are some of children’s favorite questions to ask, but answering them at a level appropriate for primary students’ level of understanding can be tricky, even for veteran teachers. In order to understand why the sky is blue and other related questions, we need to know a bit about the makeup of Earth’s atmosphere and the effects of light. This month’s Science Shorts can help.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (2)
  • on Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:18 PM

This provides directions for a classic demonstration of why skies are blue. I am not sure of the accuracy of why skies are orange provided, as I have understood that the more solid particles in the air, the more likely the skies are to be red and orange at sunset. Likewise, I have not read in any of my sources that low air pressure has any affect on visibility other to lower it while it is raining or foggy. On the other hand, rain showers clear the air of dust particles and particulates which can lead to brighter colors and sharper vision. The demonstration is classic, the explanations may need review for accuracy.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

  • on Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:21 PM

This article according to the author asks students to answer the following question: How does light affect the color of the sky? As I read through this activity however, I notice that the light source (a flashlight) does not change in the amount of light provided. A better question to ask from this activity might be as follows: How does the direction of the light affect the color of the sky? Students should be asked why the milk is used or how does the milk simulate the Earth’s atmosphere enabling us to see colors?

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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