Colour Story - Rocks and Soils with Y3

Where does colour come from?  Where does colour go?  

Where does colour come from?  Does anybody know?

Today was a story for the Y3s, with a sprinkling of science, reminders of stories we’ve told already and a hefty dose of awe and wonder.  It was lovely to be working outside on what felt like the first dry day in forever.  We took out pictures and piles of multi coloured cellophane for the children to explore.

The children thought about the magic of red Sheffield United Polyester football shirts being made from black oil (which we learnt had been made from dead animals like the ammonites and belemnites that had got trapped in the rocks way, way back, a long, long, long, long time ago). 

If Sheffield United shirts are as red as a ladybird, then where does the ladybird’s red come from? A ladybird’s red is not from oil. They eat green aphids, which in turn eat green leaves.  

How does that work?

Carmel also reminded us to think about all the colours of springtime flowers that grow out of brown soil.  

How does that work?

Carmel asked, how come the Roe Deer that used to live in Roe Wood have orange coats but eat green leaves and green grass?  And how come we eat multi-coloured fruits and vegetables but your poo is brown?

Orange Roe deer that used to live in Roe Woods in Shirecliffe

Where does colour come from? 

Where does colour go? 

Colour comes from the earth. 

Now we all know.

After looking through each of the pieces of coloured cellophane in turn, we piled them on the ground in front of us.  We investigated what happens to colours when we mix them all together.  We decided it’s like paint mixing together, and remembered that all the paint colours together turn brown!  But we wondered, where would all the individual colours have gone in the soil? Would they still be there, but we can’t see them? We thought that maybe when a seed is planted in the soil, and the water from rain is held in the soil and mixed with the energy from the sun, these things help the seed to pull all of the colours it needs back out of the soil so we can see them again.

Where do colours come from? Where do colours go? 

Colours come from the soil.  Now we all know!

This is the fourth blog in a series written by Sophie Hunter about the work done in Watercliffe Meadow Primary School in Shirecliffe.

Further information

Carmel Page is a fantastic Storyteller, Community Artist and Creative Mentor. Read all about her work and get in touch here.


This work is part of 'Culture on the Doorstep - Sheffield Curriculum Adventures.' Read all about it.

Across South Yorkshire, 4 Local Cultural Partnerships are exploring how place-based learning, within the context of a 15-minute neighbourhood, can build the cultural capital of children and young people. Create Sheffield, Evoke Kirklees, Leeds CEP and Spark Wakefield are running 4 simultaneous pilot programmes in our communities from September 2022 - December 2023. These initiatives are supported by IVE, the ACE Bridge organisation for Yorkshire and the Humber. In Sheffield, the pilot is also supported by Sheffield Museums and Sheffield Hallam University.