Posts tagged: experiment

Density Ornaments – Science Plus Holiday Art!

By , December 12, 2016 7:33 pm

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We decorated our Christmas tree this evening.  During the process, someone found a long lost box of empty glass ball Christmas ornaments that they sell at craft stores. They are the kind that you can fill with whatever fun things you want.

One of the kids had the idea of filling them with colored water.  This evolved into water plus other stuff. Finally, the project transformed into a density column idea where liquids of different densities are added and then separate out into colorful layers.

Colored water was pretty (especially with a little soap):

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Then one of the kids thought of the layers of differing densities in a density column and wanted to try that!  They put all the ingredients we had on hand in different little bowls (honey, light corn syrup, water, canola oil, and green dish soap).  NOTE: Steve Spangler has a great density column project that lists ingredients you can use.

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We did not have a funnel, so we used a large kid’s medicine dropper and a cool syringe-type device that my oldest daughter was given when she had her wisdom teeth out (a baby medicine syringe would work too). They both worked really well.

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Honey, corn syrup, and oil with a few drops of food coloring in the oil produced some cool, elevated, lava lamp-style blobs:

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The ornaments are too heavy to hang on a Christmas tree, however they make a pretty and very unusual centerpiece!

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Fireworks in a Dish

By , March 6, 2011 4:35 pm

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If you have milk, food coloring and dish washing soap on hand…

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you can have impressive rainy-day science fun!

Pour some milk into a plate:

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Wait a minute for any motion in the milk to settle down, then add four drops of different colors of food coloring.  Place the drops next to each other near the center of the plate.

 

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Wait a minute or so until the colors get a bit blotchy-looking:

 

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Take a clean cotton swab and gently place it on the colors.  What do you think will happen?

(SPOILER ALERT:  Absolutely nothing.)

Now put a drop of dish soap onto the other, clean and dry end of your swab.

 

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What will happen when you put the soapy swab gently onto the colors?  Look!

 

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It even continues impressively swirling and churning after you have lifted the swab out of the milk!

 

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Try putting your swab in different areas of the plate to see what new patterns form.

 

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NOTE:  It is very important not to stir, just hold your swab still in the milk.

Make sure you have plenty of milk and food coloring on hand for this because your kids won’t want to do it just one time.  This kept my 5 year-old entertained for at least an hour!

 

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Many thanks to Steve Spangler’s Science Experiments for this really fun idea! Steve Spangler has a good explanation of the science behind this colorful display. You can read it here.

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This is my contribution to this month’s Unplugged Project theme of soap.  Can you come up with a soap-themed project?  If so, please join in and add a link or comment to the original project post.  You can read more about the Unplugged Project here!

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