Dishing Out the Colors

3.6 based on 106 ratings

Updated on Nov 14, 2013

Grade Level: Preschool-1st Grade Type: Chemistry


In this experiment, we will find out whether we can create motion in a dish and as a result, create a wonderful and colorful show.

Research Questions

What properties does surface tension itself affect?

Surface Tension allows liquids to resist an external force. It acts as a sort of “barrier.” Because of this property, some objects that are denser than water can actually float and insects can walk on the surface of water.


  • Food coloring in colors of your choice
  • Milk
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • A large dish with raised sides

Experimental Procedure

  1. In a pretty deep dish, add about ½- 1 inch of milk.
  2. Put a few drops of food coloring on the surface of the milk. The colors, amount, and arrangement can be however you like.
  3. Put 2 drops of dishwashing liquid inside. Something really cool should happen. What happens?

Terms/Concepts: Surface tension; cohesion; Properties of Liquids; Floatation

For more fun with colors, try this delicious Colorful Cookie recipe!

Sofia PC is currently a college student with a deep interest in science who is aspiring to become a writer. She writes about all sorts of things across all subjects including, but not limited to; science, crafts, and fashion. She hopes to become a good writer so she can share her thoughts and experiences with the world and future generations.