Welcome to Camp Yellow Scope! It’s going to be eight fun-filled weeks of exciting and colorful science experiments.
Meet two of your fellow campers: Mae and her good friend, Newton, the lab rat. They’ll be your lab partners all summer long - to offer fun facts, advice, and safety tips along the way.
Click here to download printable instructions for the experiments. You can also print out a lab worksheet to record your observations, jot down ideas, and design your own experiments! If you collect your worksheets together from all eight weeks, by the end of the summer you will have your very own Camp Yellow Scope notebook! You can even add some extra sheets for new experiments you design yourself.
Experiment 1: Painting on milk
Let’s start camp with a fun activity that everyone’s familiar with - painting! Not sure that sounds “science-y” enough? Well, we’re not going to be using brushes and paper, we’ll be using chemistry to paint on milk!
When you mix milk with food coloring and a drop of soap, some pretty exciting things happen. Be prepared to amaze your friends and family with this dynamic science experiment! It might seem like magic, but it’s science!
Let’s get started!
Clear a space on the kitchen counter, your desk, or the picnic table in the backyard. Put on some clothes that can get messy, and get ready to paint without a canvas or brush!
Before starting an experiment, scientists first make a hypothesis. Do you know what a hypothesis is? Right! A hypothesis is a guess or prediction about what you think is going to happen in the experiment.
What do you think will happen when you add drops of the food coloring to the milk? Will the two liquids mix? What do you think will happen when you add dish soap to the mixture? Record your hypotheses on your lab worksheet.
Congratulations, Camper, you painted with milk!
You probably noticed that the drops of food coloring sat on the surface of the milk and did not mix in. This is because milk contains fat. Food coloring is water soluble, which means it mixes well with water, but not with fat. For this reason, the food coloring sits on top of the milk instead of mixing in, or dissolving, like it would in plain water.
So what caused the crazy color contortions when you touched the dish soap to the food coloring? To answer this, we need to understand a bit about the chemistry of soap. Soap molecules are made up of two different ends. One end loves water (hydrophilic) and the other end hates water (hydrophobic), but loves fat. The hydrophobic, fat-loving ends stick to the fats, surround them, and trap them.
In our experiments, as the dish soap molecules race around trapping the fat molecules in the milk, they push and shove the food coloring molecules all around the bowl. The food coloring allows us to observe these microscopic, molecular gymnastics.
Why does it matter?
Can you think of ways that soaps and detergents are important in your everyday life?
We hope you had fun learning about detergents and how they help us in grabbing grease! Next week at Camp Yellow Scope, we’ll try some new tricks with soap, pennies, and drops of water. Intrigued? Check back next Tuesday for new experiments and more summer science fun!
We'd love to see how your experiments turned out! What did your milk paintings look like? Share your photos or videos:
For more exciting experiments, check out our science kits on the SHOP tab of our website!