Science-ing Around


Today we cracked open one of our science experiment books and found some cool things to try.

In our first experiment, we made mixed food colors “magically” separate. You can see it looks like the two colors on the coffee filter are being pulled apart.

I’ll explain what’s going on here. We mixed two food colors — blue and yellow — and put a drop on a strip of coffee filter. Then we suspended the filter from a pencil on a clear jar filled with about an inch of water, so that the filter just touched the water.

We watched the water creep up the filter to the blot of color, and as the water rose, the two colors drifted apart. The explanation for this is that each color tends to travel up the paper at a different rate.



I also tried a water and alcohol experiment, but it wasn’t as awesome as it could have been, since my rubbing alcohol wasn’t a high enough percent. We put 4 teaspoons of water into a tube and marked the water level. Then we emptied the container and added 2 teaspoons of water and 2 teaspoons of alcohol. The result is a volume less than the 4 teaspoon mark. The explanation is that alcohol molecules fit between the water molecules. I’ve also read that they displace oxygen, and other source said it included a temperature change.

Another cool experiment involved density. In Part 1, I filled a jar with hot blue water, and another jar with cold yellow water. Then, using the magic of an index card and surface tension, I inverted the blue jar over the yellow jar and removed he card. The liquids didn’t mix. Ooh. Ahh.

In Part 2, we reversed the jars, with cold on top. They quickly mixed. Isaac quickly deduced it had to do with density. Yes, cold water wants to sink, warm water wants to rise.

The last and least exciting experiment was on condensation. We put a glass jar with hot water on the table. Then we inverted its lid on top and filled it with ice. The result was big water drops on the bottom of the lid. But the boys couldn’t be amazed with such simple vapor play.

We also read about Helen Keller, and a number of other books. Good day.

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