DIY Science: St. Patrick’s Day

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DIY Science: St. Patrick’s Day

Why are rainbows a symbol for St. Patrick’s Day?
Leprechauns are said to keep their gold at the end of the rainbow, of course!

 

Walking Water Rainbow

What you’ll need:

  • 6 small cups
  • 3 paper towels, cut in half and folded
  • Food coloring – red, yellow and blue
  • Water

 

Directions:

Step 1: Arrange six cups in a circle.

Step 2: Fill three of the six cups halfway with water, alternating with the empty cups.

Step 3: Add food coloring to the cups with water: one cup with red, one cup with yellow, and one cup with blue.

 

Step 4: Place the folded paper towels between each cup, making sure they are in the water.

Step 5: Wait for the water walking to happen!

 

What we learned:

Capillary Action

Capillary action is what happens when the water travels up the paper towel to fill the middle glasses until they are all even.

Capillary action occurs due to the adhesive force between the water and the paper towel (water molecules are attracted and stick to other substances) being stronger than the cohesive forces inside the water itself (water molecules like to stay close together). This process can also be seen in plants where moisture travels from the roots to the rest of the plant.

 

Color Mixing

We also noticed that when the water colored by the food coloring mixed, it created new colors!

Red + Yellow = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green 
Blue + Red = Purple

 

Rainbow Volcano

What you’ll need:

  • 6 small cups
  • Food coloring – red, yellow and blue
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Tray (to keep the mess contained!)

Directions:

Step 1: Place six cups on your tray – we placed ours in a circle.

Step 2: Using your color mixing knowledge from the Water Walking Rainbow experiment above, add food coloring to each of the six cups to create the colors of the rainbow.

Red + Yellow = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green 
Blue + Red = Purple

Step 3: Fill each cup halfway with vinegar.

Step 4: Add a spoonful of baking soda to each cup.

What we learned:

Vinegar + Baking Soda = Eruption!

Baking soda and vinegar react with each other because of an acid-base reaction which creates carbon dioxide. To learn more about this reaction check out our Baking Soda and Vinegar Rockets set!

 

Skittles Rainbow

What you’ll need: 

  • Skittles (we bought Original and Wild Berry to make sure we included blue)
  • Plate
  • Cup of warm water

Directions:

Step 1: Arrange your Skittles around the perimeter of your plate. You can choose your pattern – we of course did a rainbow!

Step 2: Slowly pour the warm water into the center of the plate.

Step 3: Watch what happens next!

 

What we learned:

Skittles dissolve in water

Skittles are coated in food coloring and sugar. When you pour water over the skittles the color and sugar dissolve into the water and then diffuse through the water. The colors move move from higher concentrations to lower concentrations and meet in the middle of the plate without mixing because each one has the same amount of sugar dissolved from each Skittle.

 

 

What other experiments involve or create rainbows? Let us know below, and at @MindWareToys on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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