Students learn density through sugar-water experiment

By SANDRA ZIEHLKE
Special to Leader-Press

What happens when you combine different colors of water into the same cup? You get a new color, right? Not Hettie Halstead students who experienced a rainbow layer of colors when they experimented with water, sugar and food coloring in an interactive science lab. 
Teacher Melissa Thorpe’s fifth grade class began to explore density and the properties of matter by dissolving various amounts of sugar into separate cups of water and then added food coloring into each cup. The food coloring helped to identify the different amounts of sugar in each cup.
Using droppers, the students then carefully layered the colors of water into a new cup to show how more matter in the same amount of space makes an object denser. The more sugar there was in the water, the more space was taken up, thus making the solution denser. Therefore, students witnessed the water containing the most sugar settled to the bottom and the water with the least sugar stayed at the top, resulting in a rainbow-like appearance in the cup.
After the lab, first grade students stopped by to learn about the experiment from the fifth graders. The young learners asked questions about the activity and fifth grade students including Jaqueline Henry were in awe of the experiment’s results.
“It was amazing,” Henry said. “We got to see what the different amounts of sugar did to the different colors of water.” 
Thorpe said the students enjoyed the hands-on activity and were engaged in explaining the experiment to the younger students.
“It is exciting to see your students so enthusiastic about learning,” Thorpe said. 
The lab experiment meets Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills requirements covering mater and energy. The students must know how to classify the measurable physical properties of matter and be able to determine how matter is changed and used. Specifically, this experiment examined the classification and change of the physical properties of matter by having students examine relative density and solubility in water.
 

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