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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Color Mixing With Cornstarch

Our Color Mixing Project moves ahead full force.  Thursday we started our color mixing with an invitation to mix colored water.
Again the children were set up with the primary colors, a clear egg carton tray, and  a pipette for mixing.
Although we have mixed with food colored water many times, when I set it up a little different, I notice they explore with the colors differently.  For example, when we use the test tubes, they tend to use one or two colors, but with this mixing, they seemed to enjoy mixing all three at once.  I am always curious where they will take their experience. 

They are becoming experts at telling me what the secondary colors are as they mix them.
Purple, green and orange have become the magic colors as they emerge.

I was informed the other day that the technique shown above of putting the color in the pipette, then letting it drop to the bottom is called "surfing the color."   I thought it was a perfect term for what he was doing.  It is usually accompanied with a little verse; "surf it, squeeze it, put it in your cup."

After the children color mixed for some time, they were then given a tray of cornstarch to do some more color mixing, and to see their colors become more vibrant as they were added to the white of the powder.

Many wonderful things happen when you add cornstarch and water, but two that I was hoping the children would notice is that when colored water is added to cornstarch it starts to separate out the mixed colors.  So purple begins to separate into red and blue again.   It is something you have to watch for, and catch before too much of the water is added, but I did notice it when the kids first started.  However, the next aspect of discovery was what held their attention more.  Water and cornstarch make Oobleck, a wonderful sensory experiment that gets its name from the Dr, Seuss book.    

 Oobleck is something you have to dive into with your hands.  It is this marvelous substance that is both liquid and solid at the same time.  The kids love it!

Next week is Dr. Seuss's Birthday so I think we will be doing some more Oobleck discovery and color mixing.

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