Many students have an understanding of how coloured filters work, some believe they change the nature of the light in some way.
For example, a red filter 'dyes' the white light, or white light is given and carries the colour of the filter.
The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception.
For more information, see the University of York BEST website.
Resources to Address This
Colour separation with light filters (11-14)
Ref - SPT Li04 PN03
An easier way to separate out light of different colours is to use coloured filters. For example, when white light passes through a pure red filter all of the other colours in the spectrum are absorbed and only red light passes through it. So only a very narrow band of frequencies get through.View Resource
Understanding colours (11-16)
Ref- Practical Physics; Light and optics; Spectra and colour;
Ask students how the filters make light coloured. Does the red dye change all parts of the spectrum to red, or does it just cut out other colours and leave the red that was always there in the white light? Is the dye a colour adder or a colour subtractor? Filters transmit their own colour and absorb the rest. They do not dye all the light with their own colour. They subtract colour.View Resource
The following studies have documented this misconception:
- Andersson, B. and Kärrqvist, C. () How Swedish pupils, aged 12‐15 years, understand light and its properties. European Journal of Science Education, 5 (4),