Visible Light
Light, Sound and Waves

Rainbows and spectra

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

Keeping it accessible

Except for individual study for the particularly interested, we do not suggest that you ask pupils to research how a rainbow comes about, nor that you explain it in class. The process is not simple, involving reflection and refraction within the raindrop and the contribution of lots of separate raindrops. By all means enjoy a striking image, but do not explain it to death. Pupils of this age are not likely to enjoy following the necessary detail for so little reward.

2023 IOP Awards

Teachers of Physics Awards

Recognising and celebrating outstanding contributions to the field of physics education.

Learn more