What Happens When Oil and Water Get Together?

3.6 based on 59 ratings

Updated on Mar 15, 2013

Grade Level: Preschool through 1st Grade; Type: Physics


See what happens when two fluids that have different densities get together.


  • Disposable cup
  • Water
  • Food color (any dark color)
  • Small funnel
  • Vegetable oil
  • Pencil and paper and a crayon or colored pencil that matches the food color (alternatively: a camera)
  • One test tube with cap
  • Optional: some old newspaper and a smock

Experimental Procedure

  1. You might want to do this experiment over a sink or some old newspaper, it can get messy! Also, a smock might be a good idea.
  2. If you are using the paper-and-pencil option, use the pencil to draw four or five pictures of the test tube on the paper.
  3. Fill the cup partway with water and put a few drops of the food color in it. Swirl it around until it’s well mixed.
  4. Use the funnel to fill the test tube halfway with the colored water.
  5. Record and present results.

Terms/Concepts: fluids, convection, cumulus clouds, upwelling, density

References: Phineas and Ferb Science Lab, published by Scholastic, Inc., pp. 16-17 (2011).

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