Thursday, October 30, 2014

Skittles Rainbow Density

We had our first Halloween fun the other night at trunk-n-treat, and Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean got just as much candy as you would expect you would get on Halloween night.  I have been wanting to conduct a few candy experiments and with a stash this big already, a candy experiment is what we will do. 

Luckily for me, most of the candy was skittles, which are not my favorite, but that means the girls will be eating all of it.  So, we decided to revisit our density experiment from our Float-Sink BLAST and conduct a Skittles rainbow density experiment.

First, we dumped several packs of Skittles into a bowl for the girls to sort into the different colors.  Once the colors were sorted, this was a great opportunity to add a little math into our fun.  We discussed counting by twos.  We added 2 red Skittles to a cup, and then Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean had to add an additional two orange Skittles to the next cup.  They continued this pattern until there were ten purple Skittles in the last cup.

To make colored water, we added two tablespoons of warm water to each cup of Skittles.

It only took seconds for the color to dissolve off the Skittles and color our water.  There was wax from the Skittles floating around, but that did not effect our experiment.

We had a lot of fun layering the different colors of Skittles to make a rainbow, but to be honest, the girls were more excited to see what it would taste like.  The rainbow still smelled like Skittles, and yes, it did still taste like a Skittle.

You will notice that Jelly Bean and Jumping Bean are wearing different outfits.  This is because mommy had a difficult time layering the liquids.  Finally, after the fourth try, I was successful.  First, I tried to slowly pour the liquid over the back of the spoon, but it mixed.  Next, I tried to use an eye dropper, but it mixed.  Then, I tried to use a syringe, but it mixed.  Finally, using a mini pipette worked.  I held the cup tipped to its side and slowly dropped the liquid down the side of the cup.  Be patient!  It does work!

Why does the colored water layer?  The sugar from the Skittles dissolves into the water.  Different amounts of Skittles were used for each color.  There were more purple Skittles which means there was more sugar dissolved into the water.  This made the purple water more dense. There were less red Skittles which means there was less sugar making the red water less dense.  The dense water sinks to the bottom of the cup, and the less dense water stays on top. 

  • Skittles- 3-4 fun size bags
  • bowl
  • cups for sorting
  • clear cup to pour liquid into
  • mini pipette
  • warm water
  • tablespoon
  1. Pour all the Skittles into a bowl.
  2. Sort the skittles into the different colors- 2 red, 4 orange, 6 yellow, 8 green, 10 purple (you can also sort into increments of 3).
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of water into each cup.  The color will dissolve off the Skittles in seconds.
  4. Pour the purple water into the bottom of the clear cup.
  5. Hold the cup tipped at an angle and slowly drip the green water down the side of the cup.  Repeat with the yellow, orange, and lastly red.  (Keep the cup tipped the entire time and try to minimize movement of the cup.)
  6. Slowly, sit the cup upright to see your layers of color.

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