K2 Color Science

For the past 6 weeks, until the December break, K2 designated each week for a particular color.  Two or three times a week, I came into K2 with a science project around that week’s color.  We usually began by discussing where in the human-made and natural world one could find examples of that color and its variations. Then children participated in a hand-on activity to explore color and science.

For RED, students crushed cranberries with pestles to extract the pigment, and then dyed small paper towel squares to get a beautiful cranberry red.

For ORANGE, students sampled Valencia and Navel oranges during snack, and tallied their preferences for each type of orange.

For YELLOW, students dissolved turmeric in water and dyed small paper towel triangles.  We also compared turmeric to saffron: both spices come from plants, and both are used in cooking to add yellow to foods.  We contrasted both spices as well: saffron comes from flowers, while turmeric is from the roots of the plant; one is used primarily in Spanish cooking while the other is used in Asian dishes.

For GREEN, we discussed the parts of a plant, and then ate samples of green stems, leaves, flowers and seeds!!!  Seeds, as in snap peas, were by far the favorite plant part, followed by stems (celery) and flower (broccoli).

For BLUE, children worked together to create  paint strips with 5 or 6 variations of blue.  Children created their unique shades by mixing blue and black, or tints by mixing blue and white.  After painting the colors arranged from lightest to darkest blue, we named each color!  I think I’m going to repaint my family room “Hot summer blue”!

For PURPLE, we explored making this color with food coloring and water.  Each student followed a “recipe” – for example, 2B + 3R – to create a unique version of purple.  We enjoyed looking at the purples when they were placed in direct sunlight.

For RAINBOW, we experimented with milk, food coloring and dishwashing detergent.  WOW!  Get a kindergartner to explain this experiment to you!


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