Color Changing Milk Lab: It's an explosion of color!

It's an explosion of color! Some very unusual things happen when you mix a little milk, food coloring, and
a drop of liquid soap. Use this experiment to amaze your friends and uncover the scientific secrets of soap
molecules.
Background:
Soap contains phospholipids, which are very polar molecules: they have a positively charged head group
that is hydrophilic or “water loving” and a negatively charged tail that is hydrophobic, or “water afraid”.
Milk also contains extremely small globules of fats that are composed of phospholipids. If milk were not
homogenized, all of the fat globules would float to the top; this is heavy cream.
Objectives:
1) IDENTIFY which beakers contain whole, 2%, and skim milk (unknown variable)
2) CONVERT qualitative data into quantitative data
3) GRAPH your results on graph paper, label your axes, provide a title…
4) PREDICT what is going to happen when soap interacts with the fat molecules in different types of milk
5) EXPLAIN the molecular interactions between milk, soap, and food coloring using EVIDENCE

Materials:

 Milk: whole, 2%, skim (they are unknown, labeled 1, 2, and 3)
 Dinner plate
 Food coloring (red, yellow, green, blue)
 Dish-washing soap (Dawn brand works well)
 Cotton swabs

Procedure:

 Pour enough milk (labeled 1, 2, and 3) in a dinner plate to cover the bottom (you do not need a lot of
milk). Allow the milk to settle.
 Add one drop of each of the four colors of food coloring - red, yellow, blue, and green - to the milk. Keep
the drops close together in the center of the plate of milk.
 Find a clean cotton swab for the next part of the experiment. Predict what will happen when you touch
the tip of the cotton swab to the center of the milk. It's important not to stir the mix. Just touch the
milk/dye with the tip of the cotton swab that does NOT HAVE ANY soap on it.
 Now place a tiny drop of liquid dish soap on the other end of the cotton swab. Place the soapy end of
the cotton swab back in the middle of the milk and hold it there for 10 to 15 seconds. Look at that the
color explosion!

Convert: qualitative observations to quantitative data

On a scale of 1-10, you need to rank the color explosion in the 3 different types of unknown milk samples
(A, B, and C), where 1 is the least color explosion and 10 is the greatest color explosion:






Explain:

 What is the identity of the different beakers of milk? Match the 3 unknown milk samples with their
identity:
A. _________ Whole
B. _________ 2%
C. _________ Skim
 Describe the molecular interactions that explain WHY you observed different color explosions
with different milk. USE YOUR EVIDENCE.

 I am NOT interested in WHAT you observed, as much as I want you to explain HOW it
happened at the molecular level.