You are here

Activity

Oil and water floating experiment

Summary: 
Make oil and coloured water layers. Optional: float beads between the layers.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Chemistry: States of Matter, Properties of Materials (K-7)
Science topic (2005 curriculum connection): 
Physical Science: Properties of Matter (grade 2)
Lessons activity is in: 
Materials: 
  • veg oil in container
  • water in tube to add to container
  • food colouring, few drops
  • beads (rock, plastic and wooden)
Procedure: 

Tube of oil. Students add water and food colouring. Shake and observe layers.
The oil and water separate. The food colouring may bead up, then eventually separate.
Optional: add beads - wooden (floats on oil), plastic (floats at oil/water interface), rock (sinks).

Also try adding a couple of drops of food colouring to oil and tip the container to watch how it moves in the oil.

Notes: 

The plastic beads tend to stick to the side of a plastic container after a while, so do not remain floating between layers.

Make many more layers: https://www.teachengineering.org/view_activity.php?url=http://www.teache...

Grades tested: 
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Teacher: 
Ingrid
Teaching site: 
General Gordon Elementary Science Club
Activity originally developed and delivered: 

Gordon Elementary Science Club