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Floating Spheres

What you’ll learn: This activity is a great way to learn about properties of oil and water

  • 8 DIY Mason Jar Lava LampWater

What you’ll need:

  • A glass
  • A pencil
  • Liquid oil (vegetable, corn, etc.)
  • Food colouring

What to do:

  • Pour water into a glass (half full, if you’re an optimist!)
  • Add liquid oil, and let the two layers separate
  • Add several small drops of food colouring to the glass
  • Holding the glass at eye level, look at the underside of the oil’s surface – there are your floating spheres!
  • Using a pencil, push the colour balls down into the water and watch what happens

After you’ve completed the activity:

  • Discuss what happened. Why do you think the water and oil didn’t mix?
  • Explain that water is made up of millions of tiny molecules with a positive charge at one end a
  • nd a negative charge at the other (called ‘polar molecules’). Water ‘sticks together’ because the positive charge at one end of a molecule attracts the negative end of the next molecule, forming a strong chain. However, molecules that make up oils are ‘nonpolar’, so water molecules aren’t attracted to it.

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