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Density is a challenging concept for kids to understand, but it doesn’t have to be! This experiment describes how you can show kids that different liquids have more density than others in a fun and colorful way!

You will need: 

  • Bowl (x3)
  • Mason jar or clear sealable container
  • Funnel (optional)
  • Corn syrup
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Water
  • Food coloring (in this experiment we used red and yellow)

 

Instructions:  

  1. In three separate bowls, place corn syrup, vegetable oil, and water.
  2. To make each layer a different color, combine a few drops of food coloring to your liquids. In this case, to make a Candy Corn effect, we added 2-3 drops of yellow to the corn syrup and 2-3 drops of both yellow and red to the water to make orange!
  3. Place a mason jar or other clear sealable container on a sturdy surface. Insert a funnel (optional) into the top of the jar to reduce the chances of spilling. Slowly pour each liquid into the jar starting with the corn syrup, then the water, and finally the vegetable oil.
  4. Screw on the lid of the mason jar and watch the liquids separate into distinct layers. 

The Science Behind the Experiment 

This experiment works because density and buoyancy (or the ability to float) are related! Objects and substances with more density sink, but those with less density rise. This experiment has liquids with relative density. The word relative means that although the liquids are similar in density, they have enough of a difference for certain layers to rise above the other. For example, corn syrup is the densest, so it falls to the bottom of the jar while vegetable oil is the least dense and floats to the top. 

Are your kids interested in learning more about the properties of different materials? If so, check out our Parachute Competition experiment. You can learn more about our products here. 

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