Rainbow Density Cylinder
Activity DesignerStephanie Sims
This liquid density demonstration will impress and educate children who think of liquids as "all the same." Let young kids play with jars of colored water first, seeing them mix... then show them this. They'll surely be impressed!
What You'll Need
How We Did It
This demonstration can be as simple or involved as you like... my two are pretty familiar with density, so we went all out today! Parents of younger children may want to stick with simple ingredients like water, light corn syrup, and vegetable oil.
We happened to have little plastic cups in our craft cupboard, so we filled them a little over half way full of our liquids.
Now we were ready to assemble! We added the ingredients according to their density. Density is determined by mass: the structure and elements of the molecules that make up the liquid. So some of the liquids are light (and have less density), and some are heavy.
Honey (the densest liquid) went in first. We added the liquids to the center of the glass, not against the edge.
Next we added our corn syrup. We'd colored ours purple, but we should have chosen a different color - one that contrasted nicely with the maple syrup on top of it! Bright green would have been a good one!
We continuing layering our liquids. (If your colors mix a little, don't worry! They'll separate again.)
Here's the order of how the liquids went in: