What Kids Learn From This STEAM Activity
In a Density Tower STEAM activity, kids learn about different materials and their densities, which means how closely packed the molecules are in a substance. By layering liquids of varying densities, like water, oil, and dish soap, they create a colorful tower where each layer stays separate because of their different densities. This hands-on experiment helps kids understand that denser substances sink below less dense ones. It’s a fun way to explore science and the concept of buoyancy, and it also encourages critical thinking and problem-solving as kids figure out the order and density of liquids to create the tower.
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What We Need For This STEAM Activity
To conduct the Density Tower experiment, you will need the following materials:
- Clear, Tall Glass or Container
- Liquids with Varying Densities: Honey, Milk, Water, Dish Soap, Vegetable oil, Rubbing Alcohol
- Food Coloring: You can add food coloring to some of the liquids to make the layers more colorful and visually appealing.
- Syringe or Dropper: This will help you carefully add each liquid layer to the container without mixing them.
- Small Objects: bolt, marble, cherry tomato, raisin, bead, water cap, ping pong ball
*Safety Precautions: Since some of the liquids used in this experiment can be hazardous if ingested, ensure adult supervision, and be cautious when handling them. Also, work in a well-ventilated area.
How to Do the STEAM Activity Density Tower Experiment
- Add food coloring to the clear liquids to add color. (water, dish soap, rubbing alcohol)
- Place the liquids in order by density. We switched the positions of water and dish soap, even though dish soap is lighter. When we placed water above milk, they mixed easily because there is very little density difference between water and milk. The density of water is approximately 1.0 grams per milliliter (g/mL), while milk typically has a density of around 1.03 to 1.04 g/mL.
- Fill the tall glass with liquids in order: honey, milk, dish soap, water, vegetable oil, rubbing alcohol
- Watch as the liquids separate into distinct layers based on their densities, forming a colorful and visually appealing density tower.
- Drop small objects to see where they settle in the layers: bolt, marble, cherry tomato, raisin, bead, water cap, ping pong ball
Variations & Challenges
- Layering Liquids: You can use different liquids with a wide range of densities, such as milk, colored sugar water, or even different concentrations of saltwater, to create a more complex tower.
- Artistic Expression: Encourage students to create a visually appealing and artistic Density Tower by carefully choosing colors and layering techniques.
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