Activity Plan 3-4: A Colorful Mix-up!
Here's a vibrant way to develop science concepts
- Grades: PreK–K
- plastic cups and plastic resealable bags
- small plastic droppers
- variety of paper, including white tissue paper, paper towels or napkins, coffee filters, Manila paper, oaktag, cardboard, and wax paper
- food coloring
- chart paper to record children's ideas, observations, and summaries
- science concepts
- observational skills
- problem solving
- language development
Plan to do the following activities with small groups: Develop language experience charts to record their predictions, observations, and comments. Help children summarize what they learned after each experiment. Repeat the activities so that everyone has the opportunity to continue their investigations.
What color is water? Invite several children to fill four plastic cups with water. Place the cups in front of them and ask them what color water is. You can tell them that the water is "clear" or "transparent." Can they think of other liquids that are clear, like water? Can they think of other materials that are clear or transparent?
Now give them red, blue, green, and yellow food coloring. Add one drop of color to each cup of water. Ask questions to encourage children to summarize what they observed. What happens to the water after the color is added? Can they still see through the water? What do they think will happen if they add five more drops of color to each cup?
Mixing color. Give each child three plastic cups filled with water. Place a drop of yellow food coloring into each cup. What do they think will happen if they add a drop of red to a cup of yellow water? Record their predictions on chart paper. Then add a drop of red to one of the cups. What happens? What do they think will happen if they add a drop of blue to another cup of yellow water? What happens when they add a drop of green? Continue the color-mixing experiments by using cups of green, red, and blue water, and mixing each with different colors.
Bring all of the children together to discuss what they have learned. Invite the group to develop a color-mixing chart (i.e., yellow + blue = green). Write each word with a corresponding colored marker. Display the mixing chart in the science or art area.
Remember: While many children will enjoy mixing the various color combinations, they may not be able to remember or articulate how and why the changes take place. It is important to provide them with many other opportunities to mix colors, and to point out times when they have made new colors while engaging in other art or science activities.
Bending light. Suggest that parents fill a clear glass halfway with water and place a colored straw, toothbrush, or chopstick into the glass. Then have them ask their child to look at the waterline. What does she see? Next, take the straw out of the water. Does it look the same?
Curriculum Connection: ART
The colors of the rainbow. Using a prism, show the children how light is separated into the colors of the rainbow. Encourage them to name the colors in the order that they appear: purple, blue, green, yellow orange, and red. Give the children paper and paint, crayons, or markers that match the spectrum colors, and have them make observational drawings.