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Describe the Effects of Mixing Primary and Secondary Colours of White Light

In this worksheet, students will look at the fact that we can make coloured light and change the colour that objects look by viewing them under a different colour of light or by using filters.

'Describe the Effects of Mixing Primary and Secondary Colours of White Light' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Year:  Year 8 Science worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Physics: Waves

Curriculum subtopic:   Light Waves

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

When red, green and blue coloured lights are mixed, we see them as white light.

Red, green and blue are the primary colours.

They are primary colours because all the other colours are made from these three, when two of them overlap (see the diagram).


Did you think that the primary colours were red, yellow and blue? You're not alone.

This might be new information but red, green and blue are the primary colours!

The idea that red, blue and yellow are the primary colours comes from outdated colour theory for mixing pigments. This has since been disproved!


The secondary colours are:

- Yellow, made from red and green

- Magenta (purple), made from red and blue

- Cyan (light blue), made from green and blue


Colouring mixing



Coloured light can be made using filters. When white light passes through a filter, some colours are absorbed (kept in) and some transmitted (pass through).

A red filter would only allow red light to be transmitted and all the other colours would be absorbed.


The colour of an object depends on the colour of light it reflects (bounces back).

White objects reflect all colours.

A red object reflects red light and absorbs all others, whereas black objects absorb all colours.

When coloured light shines onto an object, the object's colour may appear different.


Now, let's put this knowledge to the test.

You can flick back to this introduction at any time, science-whiz!

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