Science project

Dishing Out the Colors

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!

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