Newton colour wheel experiment with Fizzics Education | Kids Science Experiments

Newton colour wheel

Newton colour wheel

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

Coloured pens, or a coloured printer.


One nail




Wooden skewer or nail

Newton colour wheel science experiment - materials needed
1 Newton colour wheel science experiment - cutting out the circle

Cut out a round piece of paper and divide the wheel into eight equal sized segments.

2 Newton colour wheel science experiment - circle with rainbow colours

Colour in the segments in the order of the colours of the rainbow;

Red | Orange | Yellow | Green | Blue | Indigo | Violet

*It’s ok if you can’t get the ‘perfect’ colours for indigo & violet, just use purple.

3 Newton colour wheel science experiment - wheel and cardboard

Glue the picture on some cardboard and allow to dry.

4 Newton colour wheel science experiment - pushing skewer through the colour wheel

Piece the middle of the disc with a nail or wooden skewer.

5 Newton colour wheel SciFest Africa Grahamstown March 2015

Whilst watching the coloured wheel, spin the kebab stick between fingers… what colour do you see? Why?

Why Does This Happen?

White light is comprised of all the colours of the visible spectrum.
i.e. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet… as well as the shades in between.

Spinning the disc mixed all the different wavelengths of coloured light together, creating white light. The faster you move the disc, the more white light you see. This process is call colour addition.

Colour subtraction occurs when substances that absorb light, such as paint, are mixed together. Mixing coloured paint eventually produces black paint, whereby all visible light is absorbed.

Learn more!


2 thoughts on “Newton colour wheel

    1. Hi Sarah!

      This is a tricky one, as light travels across our Universe. However, light does reduce in intensity due to the inverse-square law, whereby the light intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source (i.e. it reduces very quickly!). Perhaps try using a light meter using your phone (or from an electronics store)… you could place this at the end of different length tubes from a light source and you could measure this effect. Good luck!

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