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This is a super simple activity that serves as both an art project and a science activity. In creating some beautiful coffee filter art, children get to see a scientific phenomenon called chromatography in action!
Chromatography is the separation of a mixture (e.g., marker ink) by passing it in a solution (e.g., water) through a medium (e.g., coffee filter) in which the components of the mixture (e.g., the various colors that make up any given marker color) move at different rates.
For both kids I prepared the following materials on a tray:
- Coffee filter
- Cup with water
- A plastic pipette
I invited the kids to draw on the coffee filters using the markers.
Then they used the plastic pipette to drip water on to their drawings.
They watched as the water made the color in the markers spread.
The kids actually put so much water on their coffee filters that their colors nearly completely disappeared! If your children want the colors to stay, it would be best to use just a bit of water rather than to completely soak the coffee filters as my kids did. 🙂
Here is a resource where you can learn more about chromatography.
Looking for more hands-on activities that incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)? Then you’ll love STEAM Kids! This book features 52 hands-on activities are helpfully identified by category (science / technology / engineering / art / math) so you know exactly what skills your kids are developing.
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