By: Dawn Williams
Last week the children and I embarked on a new science experiment. We poured milk into a bowl, then added drops of food coloring to it, used a toothpick to move the food coloring around in the milk, and talked about what we observed happening. I found it very interesting how almost every child approached the experiment differently. For example, on child dragged his toothpick through the colors, making various designs before the color became absorbed in the milk. But, some children used their toothpicks to mix the colors together as quickly as possible without noticing the various patterns that could be made in the milk. Another child also had a unique approach. Instead of dragging her toothpick through the milk, she would create pinhole looks by putting the tip in the color and pulling right back out, causing white spots to form in the colored areas. I made sure I didn't tell the children how they should mix the colors together because I wanted to see what their approach would be. At one point a young scientist asked me, "How do I do it?" I told him, "I'm not sure, how do you think you should do it?" He contemplated my question for a couple of seconds, then dove right into the project by swirling his toothpick in the mixture. I was also surprised by the observations the children were making on their own. A 5 year old started talking about tornados and comparing the swirls of color in his bowl to the way a tornado swirls around in the sky. Also, after another explorer added al lthe colors into her bowl she said, "Look! It's black, just like the Earth." When I asked her what she meant by that she told me that it looks like the sky does at night time. The children also realized that if they mixed certain colors together, they could create another color. Joe mixed yellow and green together in his bowl and after swirling them together for a minute he said, "Whoa! I can see blue lines in it!"
Science seems to be a recurring theme for me in the classroom, which I find interesting because when I was in school science was always a hard subject for me. Doing these projects with the children is helping me discover a scientific curiosity I never knew I had. I hope my enthusiasm for these and future projects will instill a love of science in the children for a lifetime.