St. Patty’s Day Experiment

17 03 2011

People often think of the color green when they think of St. Patrick’s Day, but rainbows are also a big part of this day. Leprechauns are always looking for pots of gold on the other side of the rainbow.

Though we don’t have pots of gold, we do have what it takes to make our own rainbow!

Continue reading after the jump to see how to create this rainbow density column.

You will need sugar, a tablespoon, water, five clear plastic cups and food coloring.

Next, you will line up five glasses.  Then, you will add 1 Tablespoon of sugar to the first glass, 2 Tablespoons of sugar to the second glass, 3 Tablespoons of sugar to the third glass, and 4 Tablespoons of sugar to the fourth glass. Keep the fifth glass empty.

Add 3 Tablespoons of water to each of the first four glasses.  Then, stir each solution. If the sugar isn’t dissolving, add one more Tablespoon to the solution.

Add 2-3 drops of red food coloring to the fist glass, yellow food coloring to the second glass, green food coloring to the third glass and blue food coloring to the fourth glass and stir each.


To make the density column, fill the empty glass with the blue sugar solution. Then, carefully layer some green sugar solution above the blue liquid.  You can do this by putting a spoon over the glass, just above the blue layer, and pouring the green solution slowly over the back of the spoon.

Next, add the yellow solution above the green liquid. It is also best to use the back of the spoon for this.

Finally, layer the red solution above the yellow liquid, using the spoon.

The different color layers are made of different densities of sugar solutions.  The blue layer is the most dense, so it is on the bottom. The red layer is the least dense, so it floats on the top.

What are other ways we can test density?

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