During April my toddlers engaged in a number of scientific experiments, in which they had the opportunity to be both a participant & an onlooker. the first of these was adding food colouring to water, then combining the various colours to see what resulted. Not only did we get the standard green by combining blue & yellow, purple via red & blue, & orange after mixing yellow & red, but we discovered something else. By varying the amounts of each colour we managed to create variations on the initial secondary colours produced. For example, a darker yellow we labeled GOLD, a deeper shade of green we called OLIVE & a brownish hue we decided would be BRONZE. The only thing we didn't figure out is how to make SILVER. Not only did the children enhance their fine & gross motor skills & their hand eye coordination, they also developed their problem solving skills, predicted what might happen & tested their hypotheses, & built on their mathematical literacies, discovering new colours & ways to describe them.
As a follow on from that experience we tried to layer different liquids in a glass container & display it in our room. The children chose which order to pour the items into the container & we began with the coloured water. We decided green would be a good colour as it stood out much better from the other liquids than other options available. Next we added golden syrup, which travelled straight through the water & settled on the bottom of the container. Some of our budding scientist predicted this while others were quite surprised. Finally we poured vegetable oil in & while it initially swirled around within the water it quickly resurfaced & settled on top of the green layer. We placed a stopper in it & found a highly visible shelf that was also out of harm's way, in order for us to show off our creation to all those visiting our room. We later attempted a 7 layer display thans to a suggestion from Sherry & Donna at Irrisistable Ideas For Play Based Learning http://www.playbasedlearning.com.au/ which involved adding various oils to the existing list. unfortunately the oils all tendeed to blend together & when we tried to add colour to some of the oils to help distinguish them from the others the colour went straight through the oils & into the water. We discovered through firther investigation that food colouring is water based & hence would be of similar density. Although we ended up with a very murky looking brownish sludge the learning opportunities for both adults & children meant that the experience was a success even if the outcome was what we had intended. It's the jouurney that matters, not the destination.
I will continue with the rest of our experiments later. I hope someone will find these of interest.