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Explain to young children, who have not started any Science subject in school, about density and mass and they will go “HUH?”. Yes, you get to see that blur and confused look on their face. Just like when they asked you where do they come from and you go “HUH?”.
How do we teach and explain to them about density?
The easier way is to show them and have them do the experiment to see it themselves. The most straightforward, uncomplicated way is to use what you can find at home to demonstrate density and that is non other than suger, food colourings and water. Effortless. Affordable.
What do we do with sugar and water?
Prepare some cups with the same amount of water (we prepared 4 cups of water for this experiment). Add different amount of sugar in each cup of water and stir till the sugar is fully dissolved. Add colourings to each cup. This is to differentiate each different cup of sugar content.
In our experiment, we started with 1 tablespoon of sugar for the first cup of water and subsequently added 1 more tablespoon but it didn’t show the effect. Therefore we added double for each cup of water. For example: 1st cup of water, add 2 tablespoons of sugar. 2nd cup with 4 tablespoons. 3rd cup with 8 tablespoons. Double the amount of tablespoons as you work your way through the cups of water.
Get an empty tube or small container and a syringe. Or you can just use a spoon. Slowly and gently pour each cup of sugared water into the empty container with the cup that has the highest amount of sugar first, followed by the next higher amount of sugar. In short, most dense water to next dense water until you have a stacked of colours from all 4 cups.
Because each cup of water is of different colours, you will be able to see each layer of sugared water sitting on top of each other with the most dense water at the bottom.
Explanation with the experiment on-hand
Density is about compactness of stuff in a space. For this experiment, you are adding sugar into the water. The more sugar in the a cup of water, the more closely and neatly is the sugar packed together. Hence, the greater the density (same amount water, but different amount of sugar in it). The cup with the most sugar in it is the most dense, while the cup with the least amount of sugar is the least dense.
Imagine you have 3 containers of the same size. Place a metal ball in the 1st container, 2 metal balls in the 2nd container, 3 metal balls in the 3rd container. Guess which one will be the heaviest? That’s right! The 3rd container followed by 2nd and lastly the 1st container. The heavier the object, the more likely it will sink. The rainbow sugared water experiment is to demonstrate this while having fun.
Check out the rainbow sugared water we have made. Pretty isn’t it? Smarties simply love it and they tested and played with different amount of sugar and colours after the 1st try. They even explored putting in different density of water at different times to test out what they get.
We have created a short video clip on how to play and have fun while learning about density with rainbow sugared water experiment. Enjoy!