Benham's Disk science experiment : Fizzics Education


Have 10% off on us on your first purchase - Use code NOW10


Benham’s Disk

Benham’s Disk

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • Black pen or a printer
  • Paper
  • A nail
  • A pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Some glue


Benhams disc science experiment - materials needed
1 Benhams disc science experiment - file to print

Benham’s disk example that you can make yourself.

2 Benhams disc science experiment - gluing the disc onto cardboard

Glue the picture on some cardboard and allow to dry.

3 Benhams disc science experiment - pushing the nail through the disc

Pierce the middle of the disc with a nail.

4 Benhams disc science experiment - finished disc

Insert the pencil through the hole and spin the disc.

5 Child surrounded by rainbows created by diffraction glasses
6 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

Online courses for teachers & parents

– Help students learn how science really works

Orange read more button

7 A man holding a skull next to a human body model

Get the Unit of Work on the human body here!

  • Learn about the major body systems
  • Dive into the five senses
  • How does digestion, respiration, circulation and many other processes work and more!

Includes cross-curricular teaching ideas, student quizzes, a sample marking rubric, scope & sequences & more

Orange read more button

Why Does This Happen?

Colour perception is achieved by three types of cells in the retina of the eye called cones.

With the three types of cones, one is more sensitive to red light, one is more sensitive to blue light and the other is more sensitive to green light. Each cone reacts at different speeds to light and keep responding for different lengths of time. You only see white when all three cones respond equally.

The alternating white and black flashes on the disk cause the cones to respond at different times and lengths, leading the brain to believe it is seeing coloured light.

Variables to test

More on variables

  • What is the minimum amount of black ink needed on the paper to produce the effect?
  • Vary the speed of the spinning disc
  • What is the minimum size of the disc needed to produce the effect?

A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud

Learn more!

Teaching about the human body? From 5 senses to the skeletal system, the Human Body workshop has you covered!
Get in touch with FizzicsEd to find out how we can work with your class.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.