Apple Bubble Science!

What kid doesn’t LOVE bubbles? Here’s a quick and easy bubble experiment perfect for the Fall!  Bubbles in Apples!  And it should buy you some time to get dinner going while your kids have some fun.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • water
  • juice
  • milk
  • straw
  • Hollowed out apple (although you can really do this in a glass or bowl.  Apples just make it more fun!)
  • tray/bowl

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Hollow out your apple.  I used an apple that was past its prime and was deemed un-edible by my boys.

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Add some water to the center and let your kids blow bubbles through the straw.  This is great for young toddlers who are learning to blow and is totally safe if they accidentally suck up the water.

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Ask them what they notice about the bubbles.  Do the bubbles last or do they pop quickly?  My boys noticed that the bubbles splattered everywhere.

Dump the liquid out and fill the apple with juice.  Ask your kids if they think juice will make the bubbles any different.  What is different about juice and water?  What is the same?  Will it make a difference?  Then let them blow their bubbles.

Notice that the juice didn’t really make much of a difference as juice is mostly water with a bit of sugar.

Repeat with milk.  As the same questions before blowing bubbles.  What happened?

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Milk is composed of fat and proteins which cause the bubbles to last longer and not pop.  The fun part of this is that the bubbles start overflowing from the apple.

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This was by far the most fun part of the experiment and my boys wanted to keep doing it over and over again.  When the tiny tots did it in class, they loved it too!  Lots of giggles!

Extensions for older kids: Have older kids explain what is different about the chemical make-up of juice, water and milk.  Ask them to explain their predictions and then try to see if they can explain the results.  Have them try different liquids and predict the behavior of bubbles.  Why might dish soap and water create such resistant bubbles?

For more Apple Science Activities, try:

The Science behind the Activity:

This experiment introduces the concept of surface tension.  Surface tension is the thin skin-like film on the surface of water.  Water has high surface tension which causes the water molecules to stick to each other (ever tried the drops on a penny and seen the dome shape of water on top?).  when a bubble forms, it stretches the water molecules causing the surface tension to break and the bubbles will pop.  Juice behaves similarly because most juices are mainly water.  But milk is a bit different.  It has fat and proteins and this causes milk to have less surface tension which causes the bubbles to last longer and the skin-like surface to stretch more easily.  When you blow bubbles in milk, they don’t pop as easily, creating the fun eruptions of milk bubbles overflowing.

For a detailed explanation of the science behind this activity, click on the following link: https://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/2008/05/27/kramp-2/

To see where I got my idea from, click on the following link: http://preschoolpowolpackets.blogspot.com/2015/08/edible-bubble-science-with-apples.html

Apple Float or Sink?

Fall is a fun time to play with apples and go apple picking.   If you have a few extra apples laying around, here’s a great investigation for the tiny tots in your home to investigate whether apples sink or float when placed in water.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • apples of different varieties (we used, Fuji, Granny Smith and Red Delicious)
  • Bin with water
  • Knife (to cut apples, for adult use only)

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Have your superheroes hold the apples in their hands and predict what will happen when it is placed in water.  We tried 3 different types of apples, making a hypothesis (prediction) before placing each one in the water.

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First the Granny Smith apple

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Then the Red Delicious and Fuji apples

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All three apples floated.  There was no difference between the 3 varieties.  But why did they float?  Apples have a lot of small air pockets inside that cause them to float in water.

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But what about the individual apple parts?  Do all the apple parts float? We decided to find out by cutting an apple open and testing each part in a cup of water.

What we noticed was the apple pieces and the peel still floated in water.

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But, the stem and the seeds did not float.

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This was a great investigation on floating and sinking using apples!  And while you have a bunch of apple parts lying around, try exploring your 5 senses using apples.  Or let the little ones “bob” for apples!

For more Apple Science Activities, try:

The Science behind the Activity:

Apples contain quite a bit of air inside them which causes the overall density of the apple to be less than that of water, so it floats.  By testing the individual parts, we can see that not all parts of the apple float in water but when all the parts are put together they do.

 

Homemade Bouncy Balls

My boys LOVE those bouncy balls that they get in goodie bags.  We have a million of them around our house (OK, maybe not a million, but they are always around somewhere around the house).  My littlest one loves crawling after them.

I’ve seen a lot of posts about making your own so we decided to try it.  Almost the same ingredients that we used to make GAK.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Two containers for mixing (we used a plastic cup and an old yogurt container)
  • Borax
  • Food coloring
  • Cornstarch
  • Glue
  • Warm water
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • Spoon for mixing

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Add 1 Tbsp of cornstarch and 1/2 tsp borax to the cup.

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Add 1/4 cup warm water to the cornstarch/borax mixture.  Mix well.

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Add 1 Tbsp of liquid glue to a small container.  Add some food coloring to it if you’d like.  My superheroes always add color because, hey, colors make everything more fun!  Mix well with a spoon.  It will be sticky.

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Slowly add the cornstarch/borax/water mix to the glue. Mix until a blob forms.

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When it gets too hard to mix and the “blob” is no longer holding any more liquid, take it into your hands and roll it between your palms until is gets firm and circular.

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The superheroes compared it to a real bouncy ball they already had at home.

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They had fun bouncing it around and comparing the real bouncy ball to the one we made.

I will admit, it definitely does not bounce as well as the real ball and after a few bounces, it did flatten out a bit.  We just rolled it back up between our palms and it was round again and ready to play.  We will need to tweak this recipe to see if we can get it be a bit more bouncy.  But the boys had fun with it all the same.

The Science behind the Activity:

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiment: http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/super-bouncy-balls/

Purple Potion Reactions (Cabbage Juice Indicator)

I’ve been wanting to do this simple kitchen science experiment with my kids for awhile now as I used to do this with my middle school students once upon a long time ago…This one is fantastic for superheroes of ALL ages.   The younger ones can enjoy the colorful reactions and the older ones can learn a bit about acids and bases and how pH indicators work.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Red Cabbage (Why is it called red when it really looks purple??)
  • Large Pot
  • Strainer
  • Ice Cube Tray (or several small clear cups/jars)
  • Droppers (I save the ones we get from the pharmacist everytime one of my superheroes needs meds)
  • Coffee Filters (optional)
  • Household liquids to test (water, vinegar, lemon juice, fruit juice, milk, baking soda/water, soda, laundry detergent, liquid soap, ammonia, etc…)

To make the Purple Potion:

Coarsely chop up half a head of cabbage.

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Place it into a large pot and add water.  I added about 5 cups of water to mine.

Bring the cabbage/water mixture to a boil and then let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Make sure you have your exhaust fan on and your windows open.  This gets stinky 🙂

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Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature so that it doesn’t burn your little ones.  Once cool, strain the mixture so that only the purple liquid is left.  Discard the cabbage.

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I ended up with about 4 cups of Purple Potion.  Now we are ready to experiment!

IMG_1476To Experiment:

I placed an ice cube tray in front of each of the Superheroes.  I placed a variety of liquids from the kitchen into several wells of the tray.  We used: water, milk, lemon juice, liquid soap, baking soda (dissolved in water), vinegar, apple juice, liquid soap and laundry detergent.

I had them color in what the liquids looked like before we started.

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This is the observation sheet they used:

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Each superhero got a small cup of Purple Potion in a cup and a dropper.

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They added several drops of the purple potion to each well and observed the changes.

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Whoa!  Look at all those colors!  Why is it doing that?

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Here are the final results:

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I asked them what might happen if they start mixing some of the liquids together.  A whole new set of experiments to do!

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My older son made a pink concoction and said it looked like “antibiotics”! (Can you tell how sick we’ve been this past winter! )

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With my older son, I probed him on what the pink colored liquids had in common and what the blue colored liquids had in common.  I think this was a bit over the top for a 6 yr old and he really was a bit lost at what to say.  If you have older kids, definitely ask.  The goal is to see if they can come up with some common characteristics of acids and bases. (Even my middle school students used to struggle with this)

Extension:

I decided to try to make my own indicator paper with some of the Purple Potion.  I placed 4 coffee filters in a container and added some Purple Potion to it.

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I soaked the filters overnight. Make sure to use an airtight container with a lid or your kitchen will stink in the morning!

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Remove the paper from the liquid and let dry completely.  I left mine outside to dry in the sun.

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Cut into strips and you’re all set!

Instead of using droppers to test the liquids, you can dip the indicator paper into the liquids and see the paper change colors.

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And then they placed it on their observation sheet to compare with their previous results

IMG_1509Science Behind the Activity:

Cabbage juice acts as a pH indicator.  Without getting too deep into the chemistry of it all, substances that are acidic (pH between 0-7) will turn varying shades of pink/red when mixed with cabbage juice,  Substances that are basic (pH between 7-14) will turn varying shades of green-ish/blue when mixed with cabbage juice. There are several types of indicators that are used for different purposes. Litmus paper is specially treated paper that turns red in the presence of an acid and blue in the presence of a base.  By treating the filter paper with cabbage juice, you can create a simple version of indicator paper.  There are also several different types of indicator paper as well, many that can give you an approximate pH of the substance being tested so that you can tell just how acidic or how basic the substance is.

 

Candy Concoctions

This is the 3rd part to the Candy Experiment series.  And probably the funnest (that’s a word in toddler speak, right?) one yet!  And it’s the perfect way to use up any and all of your leftover candy whether it’s from Halloween, Christmas, V-Day, Easter or just birthday goodie bags.  The superheroes LOVED this one and I’m sure yours will too!

Here is what you need to get started:

  • leftover candy (we used skittles, lollipops and gummy candies)
  • cups or beakers or large plastic test tubes
  • droppers
  • spoons
  • droppers and syringes
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • water

Give each superhero some candy and a plastic cup, beaker or test tube.  Ask them to make up some potions or candy concoction.  Let them mix and pour and and use the candies however they please.  IMG_1489

They used the lollipops to mix their potions.  Added bonus: It changed the color of their potion!

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Mixing concoctions with candy in them

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Some vinegar and baking soda make bubbly potions!

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Using droppers to make precise measurements.

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All in all, the superheroes and their friends had a blast and we used up a lot of leftover candy experimenting instead of getting cavities:)

Science Behind the Activity:

This is one of my favorite activities because it allows young children to be creative and explore and investigate.  I didn’t give them any instructions, just some materials and let them have at it.  One of the girls just wanted to make things fizz.  Another child wanted to see what colors the potions would turn with different candies.  One just wanted to mix everything together.  Each child did something different.  And most importantly, they learned about cause and effect: What happens if I do this?

What Floats Your Boat?

What kid doesn’t like to play with water?  Add a bit of science and math to your water play next time with this easy experiment to set up at home.  I used to to this same experiment with my middle schoolers in the classroom to demonstrate concepts in buoyancy but for the little ones, it is just fun!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • small bin or deep dish for water or even your water table!
  • water (I added some blue color for fun)
  • Foil
  • pennies or small rocks

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Add some water to the bin.  My kids love colored water so we added a drop to simulate ocean water.

The tricky part is making the foil boat.  Younger kids might have trouble with this and might tear their boats.  Feel free to help them. Ours looked like bowls.

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Place the foil boat in the water and make sure it floats and doesn’t have any leaks.

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Next, we added pennies, one by one, to the boat.

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You will be amazed at how many pennies this little foil boat can hold!

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And then there was one penny to many… and the boat finally sank!

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Lastly, they colored in their lab sheet and had to write the number of pennies their boat held before sinking.  There you go!  Math, science, coloring and some healthy sibling competition:)

Extensions for older kids: Compare what happens to 2 identical pieces of foil when placed in water: one in the shape of a boat and one wadded up super tight to minimize the amount of air trapped inside.  Why do you think this is possible?  Also, try this experiment with salt water.  Predict what effect salt water would have on the boat’s ability to carry cargo.

The Science behind the Activity:

When doing this experiment with older kids, I discuss the concept of buoyancy, which is the ability of an object to float when placed in a fluid.  Surface area greatly affects the buoyancy of an object.  The larger surface area allows the force (weight of the cargo/pennies) to be spread out over a larger area, thus allowing the boat to float even with the “cargo”. The larger surface area displaces more water.  This is why a large hull in a ship is able to float on water.  And if the ship is floating on salt water (like the ocean) it can carry even more cargo since salt water is denser than pure water.  It’s a bit more complicated than my simplified explanation, but hopefully you get the point.  And for the little ones, it’s just fun to sink the boats:)

For a more detailed explanation click on this link:

http://www.coolscience.org/CoolScience/Teachers/Activities/FoilBoats.htm

Milk Rainbows

Want to explore some fun with colors?  Here’s a great one and I’m sure you have the 3 ingredients needed for this one at home.  Little ones will love watching the colors swirl around.  Older kids can easily set this up as investigation comparing the effect of different types of milk.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Milk (We used 2% because that’s what we drink at home)
  • Dish soap
  • Food coloring
  • Pie pan or small baking dish (we used disposable aluminum pie pans)
  • Q-tips or toothpicks (optional but fun for little ones)

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Add about 1/2  inch of milk to the pan/dish

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Add 1 drop each of different colors of dye near the center of the dish but not in the middle.

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Add a drop of dish soap in the center of the cluster of dye dots and watch the colors run away!

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Sometimes you can add another drop of dish soap and get the colors to spread more.  Sometimes not.

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Let the little ones use Q-tips or toothpicks to swirl and mix the colors around in pretty patterns.

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The Science behind the Activity:

Milk is made up of fat and protein molecules. Dish soap has the unique properties of attracting fat molecules and water molecules (It is both hydophyllic-water loving, and hydrophobic-water fearing). When the soap is added to the milk, it breaks up the fat and water molecules in the milk. As the fat molecules move around, they disrupt the food coloring causing the colors to move, swirl and mix.

Extension: Try this experiment comparing the behavior of different types of milk: whole, 2% and skim.  Why would the fat content affect or not affect this experiment?

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and a much more technical explanation about the experiment: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/milk-color-explosion

Rain in a Bottle

So we got some unexpected late summer rain out here.  When I say rain, I really mean drizzle.  In California where summer rain is rare especially during our drought, there are many happy people out today doing the rain dance!  So, what a great opportunity to show the superheroes how rain really forms.  This is a super easy experiment which pretty much uses ice and water.  No excuses!  Try this!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Clear bottle with a cap (We used a 1L water bottle, but any water bottle will do.)
  • Very warm water
  • Ice cubes
  • Scissors
  • Blue food coloring (optional)

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Cut the top third portion of the bottle with scissors.

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Add very warm water to the bottom portion of the bottle.  We added 2 drops of blue food coloring to mimic the ocean.  You can see the water evaporating on the sides already.

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Invert the top portion and fill it with ice.  Be sure to put the cap on so the cold water doesn’t drip out.

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Watch as the water begins to condense on the side.  My 5 year old had already learned this at school and used fancy science terms when I asked him what was going on.  He said, “Mummy, the blue water is evaporating and then dripping down when it gets cold from the ice.  I think it’s called conversation.”  Haha!  I corrected him that it was condensation 🙂

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See how easy that was.  And if you don’t have a plastic bottle, just use a clear bowl with a plate of ice on top.  It should still work.

The Science behind the Activity:

The warm water in the bottom begins to evaporate and turn to a gas.  When the gas molecules of water reach the cold ice, they cool down and turn back to liquid water and drip down the side, like rain.  The “foggy” air inside the bottle simulates how clouds form, although they will not form in this experiment.  In the atmosphere, water evaporates from the sea, oceans, land, etc… and condenses when it reaches the colder upper atmosphere.  This condensation causes clouds to form.  When the clouds get heavy enough, the water falls down to earth in the form of precipitation as rain or snow.

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiment:http://msdsgarden.blogspot.com/2010/05/making-rain.html

Homemade Lava Lamps

I loved those fancy lava lamps when I was a kid, but alas, my parents did not buy one for me.  Here’s a DIY Homemade Lava Lamp with some science sneaked in!  Super easy and mesmerizing for the superheroes in your life!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Empty water bottle (or any clear bottle)
  • vegetable oil (any light colored oil will do but this is probably the cheapest)
  • Food coloring
  • alka seltzer tablets

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Fill the bottle a little more than halfway with oil.

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Then add water to it until it’s about an inch or two from the top of the bottle.

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Add about 5-10 drops of food coloring. Watch how the color drips down through the oil to the water.

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Break one of the alka seltzer tablets into 4-5 pieces.  Use caution with young children who might be tempted to put this in their mouths!  It is a cold medication and should not be ingested by children!  IMG_1984

Add one piece to the bottle and watch the magic begin!

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Once the alka seltzer tablet has completely dissolved, add another one and watch the colored bubbles rise and sink again!  Repeat as many times as you’d like!  You can even try adding some glitter for some extra fun!

The Science behind the Activity:

Water and oil are insoluble, they do not mix.  Water is denser than oil and stays as a separate layer at the bottom of the bottle.  Food coloring is soluble in water so it colors the water but not the oil.  When the alka seltzer is added, it forms gas bubbles that rise to the top, “dragging” the colored water along with it.  As the water reaches the top and the gas bubbles pop near the surface of the oil, the denser water falls back down through the oil.  The process keeps repeating itself until the alka seltzer has completely dissolved an no longer forms any bubbles.

This activity can be done with adding salt instead of alka seltzer (for those of you who are concerned about using medication with kids) but the results are not as good and eventually the salt saturates the water and makes it cloudy.  Let me know if you try it with some other fizzy tablets such as Airborne.  Curious to see if those work just as well.

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiment: http://slsmithphotography.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/06/lava-lamps-summer-fun.html

Marker Chromatography

Chromatography is a BIG word for young superheroes but this is a super simple experiment that allows for tons of variations and extensions.  All you need are some markers (no sharpies or permanent ones), coffee filters and water!  So coffee addicts, can you spare some of your precious filters for an experiment?  If I can, YOU can!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Some jars (clear cups will work too)
  • water
  • Markers in rainbow colors, be sure to include brown and black!
  • Spray bottles and eye droppers (optional)IMG_1939

Cut the filters in half and have the kids make dots with the various markers about 1/2-3/4 inch from the bottom.  We made 4 dots per filter, spacing them out so the colors don’t run into each other.

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We also did one coffee filter with just a black line across the bottom.

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Add about 1/2 inch of water to the jars.  Then carefully place the coffee filter in the jar, wrapping it around the side.  Once it gets wet, it will immediately stick to the side of the jar which makes it easier to see.

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Observe the different colors, patterns from the different markers.  Ask your superheroes why they think that is happening.  I was pleasantly surprised that my 5 year old was able to deduce that the green marker separated into yellow and blue because yellow + blue = green.

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After about 5 minutes, I carefully took the filters out and placed them on a paper towel to dry so we could observe them a little bit better. Notice the primary colors didn’t separate into different colors but the brown is showing green and pink.  The orange shows yellow and some pink, the green shows yellow and blue, the purple shows blue, purple and pink.

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The black line below allowed us to see all the different colors, orange, yellow, green, blue and pink

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While they were drying, my superheroes decided they wanted to draw pictures on a new filter and then spray them water. You can use spray bottles or even eye droppers.  So, of course, we did.  (I think they did something similar at school for an art project and that might be where he got the idea from).  The picture below was drawn with black brown and green and ended up showing brown, orange, green, blue, pink

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And below is my older superhero’s design

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So easy and it only took us about 10 minutes from start to finish.  See, there is ALWAYS time to fit in a bit of science!

The Science behind the Activity:

The coffee filter allows the water-soluble components (those that dissolve in water) of the marker to separate.  When the water in the jar hits the filter, the water molecules travel up the filter through the process of capillary action.  When the water reaches the color, the molecules of pigment in the marker dissolve in water and are carried up the filter with the water.  Depending on the pigments, some will travel faster than others, allowing us to see the the different pigments separately.

Extensions:

This experiment can be done in many different ways.  You can attach the filter to a stick and dip the bottom into water and watch the pigments separate.  You can test different brands of markers to see if there are any differences.  Trying different solvents besides water to see if that affects the separation (rubbing alcohol is a good one to try).  One variation I will try around Halloween is to see how the pigments in colored candy coatings separate!

For older superheroes, set up the experiment in parallel with them but don’t let them see which colors you are using.  Compare your unknown results to those they ran and see if they can guess which colors you used!

Once the pigments separate and the filters are dry, use the pretty filters to make an infinite number of art projects!

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiment: http://theexplorationstation.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/coffee-filter-chromatography/