Science is not my favourite subject to teach. To be honest, it’s hard to even wrap my brain around some of the more advanced concepts so other than nature studies and Science Fair projects, we do very little science in our homeschooling. Last weekend, our girls were invited to a birthday party with a science theme. The birthday girl’s dad is a friend of mine who is a high school Physics teacher and he is PASSIONATE about SCIENCE! I stayed and watched and I have to admit that his enthusiasm was infectious and by the end of the party, I began to believe that maybe science could be fun and that maybe I could be capable of teaching it.
One of the hands-on activities he had the kids do was a lesson in chromatography and it was one that I later repeated with all my kids at home. This easy science demonstration can be done with materials you likely have in your home already.
All that you need for this experiment is filter paper, markers, droppers, and water. It does works best on filter paper but you can also use coffee filters or paper towels. We tried with each of these and they all work well enough to demonstrate the principle, although filter paper did give the most clear results. For the water, we used droppers, a spray bottle and a paintbrush and all of them worked equally well for distribution of water.
Have the kids colour an area on the filter paper and then add a few drops of water to that area. Have them observe what happens to the colour. They will be able to see that not only does the colour spread, it separates into the colours that make up that particular colour. Be sure to have them try using a black marker as it separates into several colours.
Chromatography is the separation of mixtures so this simple experiment is an easy introduction for kids to that concept and also gives further study into colours and shades.
If you are looking for more easy science ideas, you may want to follow my Simple Science board on Pinterest.