It’s amazing what you can learn from your kids. This week I learned that light travels in a straight line through a prism until it exits the prism at which time it is magically dispersed into its component colors. This process, also known as the Maple Grove Law of Refraction, happens only in Minnesota. Ever since it was discovered, physicists have been heading to Minnesota to verify this violation of known physical laws. The ghost of Isaac Newton was also reported to be roaming the schools of Maple Grove in an attempt to correct this egregious mistake.
In fact, when light enters a prism, it is bent, based on the speed of light in the material. Blue light has a shorter wavelength than red light and is bent more than red light. A similar process happens when the light exits the prism, leading to the familiar spectral pattern. See Cyberphysics for more details.
Unlike my last discussion with the school, where they were unwilling to correct their wrong color theory, the school was receptive to this information. After I contacted the school, the sixth grade teacher stated, “Thank you for the diagram. I found it very informative and will make note of the correction.” Now if only the sixth grade teachers would help the second graders with their understanding of color.