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Water and Bonding--Make the Colors Dance
Grade Level(s): 9-12
By: Carlos Olivo, 9-12 Teacher

I used this one to teach about surface tension and bonds and just to amaze my kids.


  • Buttermilk
  • a dish
  • four different colors of food coloring
  • liquid dishwashing soap


It can get messy so do this in or near a sink!
  1. Pour some milk into a dish (a small saucer will do).
  2. Put one drop of food coloring anywhere on the milk, but not in the center of the dish.
  3. Repeat this with the other three colors, making sure not to get the other colors too close to one another.
  4. Now carefully drop one drop of dishwashing soap in the center of the milk and watch what happens. The more fat in the milk the more effective the results.
  5. The colors should start swirling all around the milk in the dish as the bonds in the fat are broken up by the soap.


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