Thursday, June 2, 2011

Science Pt 1

During April my toddlers engaged in a number of scientific experiments, in which they had the opportunity to be both a participant & an onlooker. the first of these was adding food colouring to water, then combining the various colours to see what resulted. Not only did we get the standard green by combining blue & yellow, purple via red & blue, & orange after mixing yellow & red, but we discovered something else. By varying the amounts of each colour we managed to create variations on the initial secondary colours produced. For example, a darker yellow we labeled GOLD, a deeper shade of green we called OLIVE & a brownish hue we decided would be BRONZE. The only thing we didn't figure out is how to make SILVER. Not only did the children enhance their fine & gross motor skills & their hand eye coordination, they also developed their problem solving skills, predicted what might happen & tested their hypotheses, & built on their mathematical literacies, discovering new colours & ways to describe them.

As a follow on from that experience we tried to layer different liquids in a glass container & display it in our room. The children chose which order to pour the items into the container & we began with the coloured water. We decided green would be a good colour as it stood out much better from the other liquids than other options available. Next we added golden syrup, which travelled straight through the water & settled on the bottom of the container. Some of our budding scientist predicted this while others were quite surprised. Finally we poured vegetable oil in & while it initially swirled around within the water it quickly resurfaced & settled on top of the green layer. We placed a stopper in it & found a highly visible shelf that was also out of harm's way, in order for us to show off our creation to all those visiting our room. We later attempted a 7 layer display thans to a suggestion from Sherry & Donna at Irrisistable Ideas For Play Based Learning which involved adding various oils to the existing list. unfortunately the oils all tendeed to blend together & when we tried to add colour to some of the oils to help distinguish them from the others the colour went straight through the oils & into the water. We discovered through firther investigation that food colouring is water based & hence would be of similar density. Although we ended up with a very murky looking brownish sludge the learning opportunities for both adults & children meant that the experience was a success even if the outcome was what we had intended. It's the jouurney that matters, not the destination.

I will continue with the rest of our experiments later. I hope someone will find these of interest.


  1. Of all the learning opportunities I like to share with children Greg, science is my favourite ... because as you say science is all around us. It's in everything we do!
    Donna :) :)

  2. Looks like we're on the same page Donna. Thanks for dropping by. At leasst I know someone is reading my posts.

  3. Hey Greg! Can't wait to read more.

    We do a similar experiment in which molasses sinks to the bottom, water stays in the middle and oil floats on top. Then we start adding solid objects, like apple slices, cork, rubber erasers, etc. Some float atop the oil, some atop the water, some atop the molasses, and some sink all the way to the bottom. Then there's the whole category of things that float just below the surface of the various liquids . . . =)

  4. What a great post Greg! My son is going to love this. The 7 layer experiment sounds pretty ambitious, we might stick to 3. I like the whole sink/float idea mentioned by Teacher Tom above too. Will definitely throw in a bit of that when we do this.

  5. I love the idea of extending it in that way Tom. Thanks for the idea & for stopping by.

    I'm sure your son will love it Ness. & yes it was ambitious, but that all part of exploring the world around us. Ambition, imagination & determination. Have fun with it.

  6. Hello!

    Thank you so much for joining the Fun Sparks link up, we hope you visit again! Mixing the colours is such a great idea, and from a teaching perspective having strategies to extend activities, especially in terms of gifted and talented is great! I shall be doing this with my three toddlers!

  7. Awesome Greg! Like the glasses/bottle too! :)