In a STEAM activity, Rainbow Water, kids learn how liquids can stay separate because of their different weights. Through this fun activity, they discover basic science ideas, like how liquids can act in different ways based on their densities. They can also get to be creative by making their own colorful patterns with the arrangement and design of the layers, as well as from the overall visual effect that the layered colors create.
What is Density?
Density is how much stuff (matter) is packed into a certain amount of space. If something is heavy for its size, it has high density. If it’s light for its size, it has low density.
How to Do the STEAM Activity, Rainbow Water Experiment
Fill 6 cups with water, each about a quarter full.
Add a different color of food coloring to each cup to create rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) and stir.
Add 1 tsp of sugar to the red-colored one, then 2 tsp of sugar to the orange-colored one, 3 tsp to the yellow-colored one, 4 tsp to the green-colored one, 5 tsp to the blue-colored one, and 6 tsp to the purple-colored one.
Stir the sugar until it completely dissolves in the water.
Using a dropper, carefully place the solutions into an empty tall glass by placing the dropper close to the wall of the glass. Gently layering them from highest to lowest sugar concentration. (Purple to Red)
Observe as the solutions separate into distinct layers due to differences in density.
You’ve created a sugar water rainbow! Take a moment to admire the colorful layers.
Discuss with kids why the layers don’t mix and how the sugar affects the density of the solutions.
Variations & Challenges
Have kids predict the order in which the liquids will layer based on their densities before actually doing the experiment.
After the layers have formed, challenge kids to gently mix the liquids without fully blending them.
Ask kids to plan and design their own rainbow using liquids with specific colors and densities.
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Isabelle has been an entrepreneur for last 22 years in retail and educational industry. She is also a mom to a child in elementary school. She believes that when kids are curious and use their imagination, amazing things can happen. She is particularly interested in STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). She believes when children are encouraged to develop STEAM skills from a young age, they gain valuable tools to tackle future challenges in a creative, imaginative, and innovative manner. She enjoys researching STEAM and craft activities, plays, toys and resources and share with parents.