COLOR MIXING LAB -
Create an exciting lab for mixing color potions using food coloring and water. This activity encourages the use of lab tools, teaches color fundamentals and engages children in creating their own personal color mixes. There are professional color mixers in the paint, dye and fabric business. I tell the students to look at the colors in their clothing, in the paint on the wall and in every piece of printed material. Each color was created by a person specializing in the science and art of color mixing. This is important work.
THIS IS POTION MAKING!
During a five-day summer camp called Potions, Oohs and Ahhs! at a time when every elementary school child was talking about the Harry Potter stories, I got an insight into what some children define as potions. My plan was to have students do chemistry experiments where exciting things happen when you mix substances together. On the first day, we made my favorite slime experiment and the
children were thrilled, except for one boy who came up to me at the end of class and said, “That was fun but when are we going to mix potions?” I took his constructive criticism to heart and the next day everyone made a rocket and flew it using the chemical reaction of mixing Alka Seltzer and water. After an afternoon of rocket flight, the same boy came to me and said, “I thought this was a potions class!” The third day we set up the color mixing lab. The children were enjoying it very much and mid-way through our lab time the boy came up to me and said, “Now, this is potion making!”
Clear plastic bins for holding colored water * Food coloring *
Clear plastic cups for mixing colors (9 oz is good) * Pipettes (eyedroppers), and/or syringes, small spoons
Click on the images below to see the items at Amazon. I have tried to pick links with the best value and price from Amazon but you might want to search a bit for the price and quantities that suit your needs.
1. Fill bins with water and put food coloring in so you have the primary colors and any others laid out. One set of colors for every 4-6 students works well.
2. Put a “dump bin” at every table for dumping excess water.
3. Give each student one or two plastic cups to mix in.
4. Give each student a pipette, syringe or spoon for transferring colors from the communal bins to their own cups.
HOW TO PRESENT IT TO YOUR GROUP:
1. Talk about what happens when you mix colors: red and blue make purple, red and yellow make orange, yellow and blue make green. Can you make different shades of these colors? What happens when you mix all the col- ors? What color is the dump bin? What happens when you add that color to another? For many students, color mixing is a new concept.
2. Demonstrate how the pipette and syringe work. Help those students who are struggling with the use of the tools.
3. Clean up spills with good humor.
EXTRA THINGS TO DO WITH THIS EXPERIMENT:
1. Have older students chart what their mixes are: 4 parts blue plus 2 parts yellow equals?
2. Give students color examples with markers, crayons or examples from around the room. Can they replicate the colors? Can they chart the amount of each color necessary to copy the color?
This activity epitomizes the scientific method. Students observe, hypothesize, test and repeat the properties of colors. Advanced techniques encourage measurement and recording of data.
Preschool science version: Expect to spend 5 minutes explaining the process and 15-20 minutes mixing colors.
Mixing one color with another and coming up with a third color is often a new experience and an Aha! moment for young children. The concept of red and yellow making orange is awe inspiring if it is their first time. Use tools that are age-ap- propriate. The syringe is a bit complex for younger children; if the pipette is difficult, the children can always mix with a spoon or small ladle.
Primary colors, hypothesis, recording data