Sunday, May 11, 2014

One Thing Leads to Another

One thing I do like about homeschooling is that we can make a lesson out of anything, and what started out as one thing can turn into another. At Easter, Toby dyed eggs for the first time. Since then he continuously crawls up on the counter and starts poking at the box of food colouring (that STILL hasn't been cleaned up.... sigh...), or coming out to where I'm working with the bottles in his hands asking if we can do more science with them.
So ok fine, I poked through some books and online for colour mixing experiments and came across this paper towel one. The outline on the site just used a few colours, but I figured we'd do a whole colour mixing lesson. Once Toby figured out which were the primary colours, he coloured one of each on each side of our rows.

Next we tented paper towel from the coloured cups into the empty cups. We watched the colour crawl slowly up the paper towels and noted that the paper towel was wet before the colour crept up, which meant that somehow the paper towel is separating out the water from the food colouring, which my inner geek finds FASCINATING.... I'm sure there's a 4th grade science fair project in there somewhere...

 It took about an hour or so, but finally the colours made it up over the hill to mix at the bottom of the empty cups. We talked about how the paper towel was kind of like a straw or a sponge and it sucked everything wet up until there were no more dry spaces.

I asked Toby what else soaked up water like a straw.
"Umm... me drinking with a straw."
"Yes, but what ACTS like a straw, and brings water up from the ground?"
"Mmmmm... plant roots?"
"And what do you think would happen if we gave all our plants coloured water instead of clean water?"
"I dunno, nothing? Would they turn colours? CAN WE DO THAT?"
"Dunno, let's try!"
So off we went to town to find some white flowers, and more food dye.
When we came home several hours later the paper towel colours looked amazing.

So now armed with a completed colour mixing palette, we mixed colours again and put them in rainbow order...

And added our daisies.

After several hours we only had a faint tint at best, which was a little dissapointing. Even after an over-night they didnt look much better.

Then I actually read online instructions for how to do it right, and apparently warm water makes the colour absorb faster, and I had used cold water before. This time I also used half the water and twice the food colouring to guarantee some results. After a few hours we noticed a big difference, and after 24 hours the results were spectacular.
(My inner geek would also like to note that in the case of orange and purple, the plant separated out the mixed colours at first, with the tips of the petals taking the lighter primary, and the centre of the flower taking the dark. The longer we waited the more they mixed though)

Toby the asked if we could do the coloured baking soda and vinegar fizzies again. I don't mind doingit but went online again for other ideas and came across this blog.
Though the science behind it isn't really explained, I would assume that by mixing the baking soda and epsom salts, the baking soda would react, but the epsom salts make it last longer. Also the lemon juice acts as the acid and smells way better than vinegar.

Some small fizzies at first....

Then we got more confident in our fizzing..

Then we thought we should make prints like we've done with coloured dish soap bubbles. The dried result was pretty cool because the baking soda and salt dried with the colours and made little star patterns.

Then we got carried away....

 And Toby wanted to know what it felt like to have baking soda explode in his hands. (this was just from a small dusting he had leftover on his fingers and a ton of lemon juice)

 So we 'accidentally' packed in science, art, play, problem solving and math into the past week.... makes up for being outside 'doing nothing' this week :P

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  1. You are the coolest. I love all of this.

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  3. I love the projects and that you're homeschooling.