Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Food Coloring Experiment

This experiment using water, paper towels, and food coloring did not turn out exactly like I thought it would! Also, that cute kid up there is not mine. ;)

Because my kids are so young, I added a few pre-learning steps:

1. Before we left cups of food dye around the house for the one year old to lust after, I thought I'd check to see that older brother knew his secondary colors and could understand patterns, like the color wheel, or ROYGBIV.

Or as the ring stackers call it, ROYGBP.

 C really enjoyed handing them to me one at a time so that I could spin them like tops on the stool. After each one had fallen to a dramatic death on the floor, C and P "helped" me put them back on the stacker in order.

 2. Time to make a color wheel! C helped me trace a circle using a big plate and sketch pad. We traced the lines using scotch tape as a guide, splitting our wheel into six wonky pieces.
Any activity that involves pens is a C-approved activity.

As I labled each color, I talked about the colors with C to help keep him interested. Something must have been sinking in, because he told me that green came after yellow! Woohoo!

 3. Once we had a color wheel, I helped C park his cars on the matching colors.

We don't have any purple cars? Weird.
It was time for a break. C drove cars all over the house until little brother went to bed, and then...

4. Water! Food Coloring! Glass glasses! (What was I thinking?) We placed a cup on each of the pie sections and filled them with water, making sure that the primary colors had more water than the cups that would be the secondary colors. C helped me drop dye into each of the primary color cups.

His hands are still a bit yellow.
You don't need to put water in the secondary color cups, by the way. I was a bit confuddled.

5. Next we put in the paper towels and... waited. We kept going off to do other things and coming back. C was very interested in watching the colors creep up the paper towels, but eventually we had to go to bed.

6. The next morning: the finale! So take a look at this picture and see if you can tell what is amiss:

We have red, yellow, yellow, green, blue, blue. Um...

Before C could notice, I added a drop of red to the glasses that were supposed to be orange and purple. To be quite honest, he was not as thrilled with the end result as I had hoped. Maybe he is just cranky pants in the morning.

But Mom is sure perplexed. What gives, red 40?

7. I froze the dyed water in ice cube trays because, sure, why not.
Except for red 40. It's just creepy.
Maybe we'll melt the primary colors into secondary colors like in this pin. I don't think we'll drink them though because the cups sat out all night and gathered paper towel bits and dust.

Does any body out there know why the red didn't work? I have seen photos where this experiment appeared to work correctly for them. Is it because I put a little water in the receiving cups? Do they sell red food coloring that is not red 40?

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