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Fireworks in a Jar: a Simple Density Experiment

Fireworks in a Jar: a Simple Density Experiment

Need some indoor fireworks, or maybe just some fireworks kids can do themselves? These Fireworks in a jar were so fun at our New Year's Eve Party.

 I used this little experiment as one of the activities in our balloon countdown.  The girls loved it! We did it over and over, and it was A LOT warmer then outdoor fireworks! 

I tried to do it like they show on I Can Teach My Child, but it didn't work for me. So we found our own way!

To start with you need a clear container, the taller the better (we used a tall vase, but a large jar or bottle would work as well). Fill the container about two thirds full of water (this is not at all exact, but you need some room on the top) and add a layer of oil on top.  The oil doesn't have to be extremely thick.  We used anywhere from 1/2 inch to and inch of oil.

Now you just need to drop liquid food coloring on top of  the oil. The white binder was only there to make the colors stand out more for my camera. We did it a few times without the binder as well.

Now for the science to explain our jar of fireworks. The food coloring is water soluble, so it will not dissolve in the oil.  It is also more dense than oil, so instead it will make its way through the oil into the water where it dissipates, coloring the water. I personally really like the drops of food coloring suspended in the oil.

The firework part comes in when it enters the water. The food coloring enters as a drop and then balloons out forming a shape very similar to the large aerial fireworks. As it combines with the water it will color the water, so just like real fireworks each of these food coloring fireworks only lasts a short time.

You can keep adding colors until the water is completely colored. This is where the taller container comes in; the taller the column of water the longer it takes to color! Then rinse and repeat!

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