The Disappearing Coin

Refraction or Reflection?

On August 22, 2016 campers from the Catholic Centre for Immigrants learned how to make a coin disappear with refraction.

We experimented with light. Using a laser beam, we examined the red laser light as it contacts water. The water caused the beam to refract, or bend.

Using many LED lights to create a strong source of white light, we refracted the light through a water bottle to create a tiny rainbow. White lights contains all colors.

Campers were provided with a smiling slinky. The slinky represents color wavelength. Some colors like red have longer wavelengths than others. Colors have personality.

The slinky can also represent sound waves and radio waves. Radio waves emitted from cell towers are not visible to the human eye.

A contracted slinky can represent fiber optics. Fiber optics are designed to protect (internal reflection) the light source. Light travels quickly and straight to reach its destination. An elongated slinky – or broken pipeline – would cause the light to bend and spread, making an email message undeliverable.

Refracted color (or bending color) is like gymnastics. Color parts like body parts move at different speed. In seconds, color wavelength settles on a platform.

At the end of our workshop, campers offered their own coin tricks and did the Bolt – all smiles. They also spontaneously offered three rounds of loud applause for TeamTREC. Thank you campers for a wonderful summer. The learning and appreciation is mutual.

coin trickslinky


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