Spinning Your (Color) Wheels

In the activity you learn to create white light.


  • Pushpin
  • Pencil eraser
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Markers or crayons in all the ROY G BIV colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.
  • Uncoated white paper plate (dessert or lunch size)


  1. Trim the edge off the plate to create a flat white circle.
  2. Divide the circle into 6 equal sections, using the ruler and a pencil.
  3. Color each section a different ROY G BIV color.
  4. Pull the eraser out of the top of the pencil.
  5. Color side up, stick the pushpin through the circle's center and into the eraser.
  6. Holding the handle of the pushpin, spin the circle on a hard surface like a top.


What color(s) do you see? Does it matter which direction, or how fast you spin the wheel? Does it matter what colors are next to each other? Have you ever held a prism or crystal up to the light to create a rainbow? In this activity, you just reversed the process. When you combine all the colors, they appear white, or a yellowish-white, like many light bulbs.