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# Name _______________________ Date _________

## Liquid Layers Challenge

Challenge: Can you determine the density of each liquid, and create a
rainbow in a straw?
Background:
Mass and volume are properties of matter.
Density is the ratio of mass and volume. The density of a specific kind of matter
helps to identify it and distinguish it from other kinds of matter.
The formula used to calculate density is:
Density = Mass Volume (D=M/V)

## Part One: Determine the density of each liquid.

Materials: Liquids, beaker/graduated cylinder, scale/balance beam,
calculator
Procedure:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Use the scale to find the mass of your empty container. Record.
Add 10 ml of a liquid.
Find the mass of the container + the liquid. Record.
Subtract the mass of the container from the mass of the container + the liquid.
Record.
5. Calculate density. D = M/V
6. Repeat for all liquids.

Liquid

Liquid
1
Liquid
2
Liquid
3
Liquid
4
Liquid
5

Mass of
Container
(g)

Mass of
Container
+ liquid (g)

Mass of
Liquid
(g)

Volume
(mL)

Density
(g/cm3)

Order
(least
density to
greatest)

## Part Two: Creating a rainbow in a straw.

Using what you know about density and the information youve gathered from the
mystery liquids, you will create a liquid rainbow in a straw.

## Materials: Liquids, beaker/graduated cylinder, scale/balance beam,

calculator
Procedure:
1. Double check the Order column of your chart. Be sure the liquid with the lowest
density is #1 and the liquid with the highest density is #5.
2. Your goal is to make a liquid rainbow in your straw. Using 1-2 drops of food
coloring, color each of the liquids a different color of the rainbow.
a. (HINT: The liquid with the lowest density should be colored with the first color of
the rainbow!)
3. Place one end of the straw into the least-dense liquid about an inch and place
your index finger over the other end of the straw. Pull the straw out of the liquid
and notice how the liquid stays in the straw. If you release your finger, the liquid
will fall out of the straw. Make sure you can do this well before moving onto the
next step.
4. Once you have the first liquid in your straw, place the straw into the 2nd densest
liquid (about an inch below the surface).Slowly release your finger from the top of
the straw and the second liquid will push the other layer up. Press your finger
firmly on top of the straw and remove the straw. Dont release your finger from the
top of the straw youll have to start all over again!
5. Lower the straw with the two colored layers into the third densest liquid about an
inch lower than the second liquid in the straw. Slowly release pressure with your
finger and the liquid will push the other layers up about an inch. Seal the top of the
straw with your index finger and move onto the next liquid.
6. Continue with this until you have 5 colors of the rainbow (in order!) in your straw.
8. When you are ready, release your finger from the straw over a sink or empty cup.
Give yourself a pat on the back. Good work.
Teacher Signature:
Rainbow in a straw complete & correct: __________________________
Analysis:
1. Why do the liquids settle in this order? (Explain using complete sentences.)
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## Name _______________________ Date _________

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2. Draw a diagram of your straw, labeling the liquids in the correct order. Use color in

3. In 5-8 sentences describe density, how it works, and what you learned about
density from this challenge. Give examples to support your claims. (You may use
additional paper, if needed. Staple extra paper to this sheet.)
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