Color mixing is not just about art, it is science too. Melissa Beckman runs a blog called “Chasing Cheerios” in which she chronicles the homeschooling of her young daughter. Science is alive and well at the Beckman home, and Melissa is not afraid to post when experiments work…and when they don’t. She recently posted a simple and visual experiment (that did work) that involved mix colors using a multi-well paint tray (available HERE.) A simple yet fun activity for homeschooling or easily transferred to a classroom activity, if desired, where students could work in pairs, log results, and experiment with plants.
First, O squeezed a few drops of food coloring into 3 different glasses. Then she poured water into the glasses. It was fun to watch the water change color as she poured it in, and she said “Ohhh. Beautiful!” Then I showed her how to use the dropper to transfer a little bit of water to each bowl… She then added blue water to the yellow water to make green! She was VERY impressed! (SB Note: Challenge students to mix together the colors of the rainbow in order – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple.) After she was finished experimenting with color mixing, we went outside and picked flowers to try our science experiment again. We put a white flower in each color, and we’re hoping they’ll change colors.
SB Note: If trying out Melissa’s final experiment with flowers, add enough food coloring to the water to make a very dark color. As the flower pulls up water and transpires it out through the petals and leaves, the color is transferred. It is an excellent way to show how water is carried through a plant. For a real twist, split the stem and put each half into a different colored water. Fresh white carnations will often begin coloring the petals within an hour.
Get instructions for coloring flowers using transpiration HERE.