Welcome Back, Summer Science Explorers!
Today we are going to make magic, the science kind of magic that is. We are going to make our very own rainbow in a bottle, and then make common household objects levitate (float) in it! How neat is that? Now I tell you what, anybody can stack books or boxes, but only those with an understanding of the mystical science of chemistry can stack LIQUIDS! How is this feat done you are asking? Well keep reading to find out!
- Tall Graduated Cylinder (alternatively could use a 1L CLEAN soda bottle OR baby soda bottle test tubes)
- 8 oz (1 cup) of each of the following liquids
- Dawn Dish Soap
- Light Karo Syrup
- Lamp Oil
- Vegetable Oil
- Rubbing Alcohol (71% preferably)
- Food Coloring (or these Color Tablets from Steve Spangler Science – nontoxic and non-staining)
- A Turkey Baster can make it easier to gently add the higher levels OR you can pour your liquids over the back of a large spoon.
- Small Items such as
- rubber bouncy ball
- small piece of carrot or celery
- small cork
- small piece of plastic
- any other small object you wish to test
- In order to see the rainbow you will need to dye your liquids prior to pouring them into the Density Column. You will probably have difficulty dyeing the vegetable oil and the honey so just go with their natural color.
- Begin the column by pouring the honey into the bottom of the graduated cylinder (or bottle if you choose that instead. Be careful to avoid getting honey on the sides of the glass. *Note – depending on the size of your container you may want to use LESS of each liquid. Use your judgement to determine the best amount to get even-sized layers.
- After covering your bottom layer in honey you are going to add the following liquids in this order: karo syrup, dish soap, water, vegetable oil, rubbing alcohol, lamp oil. Remember to go slowly! Use your turkey baster or spoon-back to help gently add the liquids on each layer.
- If the layers mix a little bit during the pouring process it will be okay – watch for a little bit as the layers magically separate themselves!
- Once you have your layers poured you can begin to drop in your small objects. Before you do, think about where you think they are going to end up – in other words, about how dense do you think those objects are?
What’s Going On Here?
- Always obtain a parent’s approval before beginning an experiment. Adult supervision during experiments is also strongly recommended.
- Always wear your safety glasses and apron when performing an experiment!
- Don’t put any of the objects or liquids in your mouth or eyes!
- After you finish all liquids can be poured down the drain. Make sure to clean up your work area!
- This would be one of those times with the puppy pads I mentioned on the “Stock Up” page might come in handy for easy cleanup!