It is the time of the year where parents all over the world are cursing the schools and want to pull out their hair in frustration. That’s right, it is science fair time! Every parent’s dreaded nightmare. That time when parents get faced with having to plan a science fair project, shop for supplies, conduct experiments over and over again, and then help to document and create a display for the science fair.
Dreaded Science Fair Project
I’ll just start with I am not a fan of science fairs! When I was in school the science fair was completely optional. I’m all about doing science experiments with the kids. But the added stress of doing an actual project, display, and the extra work that comes with the science fair is what I am not a fan of. I have 4 kids to balance (one of which being a brand new baby) and research papers to help with for the older kids, developmental struggles with Miss Jade, speech therapy activities with Miss Jade and work. Who has time to do a science fair project?
Our son had a great idea for a science fair project. But sadly due to the weather it is not something we could pull off at this time of the year. He wanted to shoot off bottle rockets and do experiments if the contents of the rocket made a difference in distance it would fly. But with the below 0 temperatures, the liquid choices would freeze and affect the experiment.
So onto option #2 color changing milk. And thankfully it is very simple and can be conducted in just a few minutes in the afternoon. Which means you have more time to do the actual project display.
Fun Color Changing Milk Science Fair Project
- 1 dish
- Whole Milk <– Yes this is important that it is whole milk.
- Dish Soap – Regular Dawn works the best
- Liquid Food coloring
Begin by pouring the milk into the plate. It needs to be about 1/4 inch deep. Allow the milk to settle.
Add one drop of each of the four colors of food coloring to the center of the milk. Keep the drops close together in the center.
Observation #1 – What is the reaction to putting color into plain milk?
Next take a Q-tip and touch the tip to the center of the colors. It’s important to not mix. Just touch the tip to the center of the colors in the milk.
Observation #2 – What is the reaction to adding a Q-tip to the milk with color?
This time take a clean Q-tip and place a drop of Dish soap onto the tip of the Q-tip. Place the soapy end back into the middle of the milk and hold it there for 10-15 seconds.
Observation #3 – What is the reaction to adding the soapy Q-tip to the milk?
Add another drop of soap to the tip of the Q-tip and try it again. Place the Q-Tip at different locations in the milk and notice the colors in the milk and how they react.
Then allow the milk to settle again.
Observation #4 – What happens to the colors after allowing the milk to settle? Do they go back to what they were or stay spread out?
Now as with any good science fair project, you need to conduct the experiment multiple times. You can’t come to an accurate conclusion unless you have repeated results.
So dump the milk, wash the plate and thoroughly dry it. Then do the experiment again. Repeat until you have conducted the experiment at least 3 times.
To go a step further, repeat the experiment using different types of milk. You can use 1%, Fat free, soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, or goat milk. You can also try half-and-half, condensed milk, chocolate milk or heavy cream. Then finish up using water in place of milk. Will you get the same eruption of color with the different milks or water? Why or why not?
How it works:
Molecules like to stick together. Thus why the the food coloring does not mix into the milk unless mixed. The Dish soap breaks down the bond of the molecules and causes the colors to dance around.
How do you survive the Science Fair Project stress?
What are your favorite Science Fair Project ideas?
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