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Museum at Home: Color Changing Milk
Some very unusual things happen when you mix a little milk, food coloring, and a drop of liquid soap. Use this experiment from Steve Spangler Science to amaze your friends and uncover the scientific secrets of soap!
- Milk (whole or 2%)
- Dinner plate
- Food coloring (red, yellow, green, blue)
- Dish-washing soap (Dawn brand works well)
- Cotton swabs
- Pour enough milk in the dinner plate to completely cover the bottom to the depth of about 1/4 inch. Allow the milk to settle.
- Add one drop of each of the four colors of food coloring - red, yellow, blue, and green - to the milk.
Hint: Keep the drops close together in the center of the plate of milk.
- Find a clean cotton swab for the next part of the experiment. Predict what will happen when you touch the tip of the cotton swab to the center of the milk. It's important not to stir the mix. Just touch it with the tip of the cotton swab. Did anything happen?
- Now place a drop of liquid dish soap on the other end of the cotton swab. Place the soapy end of the cotton swab back in the middle of the milk and hold it there for 10 to 15 seconds. Look at that burst of color! It's like the 4th of July in a bowl of milk!
- Add another drop of soap to the tip of the cotton swab and try it again. Experiment with placing the cotton swab at different places in the milk. Notice that the colors in the milk continue to move even when the cotton swab is removed. What makes the food coloring in the milk move?