The power of food coloring.

This one demo serves to model several natural phenomena.  To explain the observations requires understanding several interconnected scientific ideas.  Particle motion, Kinetic Molecular Theory, Gas Laws, Air Pressure, Plate tectonics, Winds, fronts, air masses, and Density are all aspects of science knowledge I have related to this demo.  What would you do with this? Please share your ideas in the comments.

To create this demo use a longish container filled with water. At one end put a heat lamp and put ice cubes in the other end. Allow the system to sit for a few minutes, then add food coloring to the ice cube side.

This entry was posted in Earth & Space Science, Physical Science, Physical Science - Chemistry. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The power of food coloring.

  1. cindyfriday says:

    6th gr. Ca science Harcourt, unit 3 movement of heat, lesson 4! video demonstrates convection current of heat being transfered in a fluid? food coloring is the matter they can see taking the path from cool sinking, to warm rising. Happens in weather and below in the earth’s mantle.

  2. jerridkruse says:

    Exactly. Is that lesson on convection currents in general or specific to weather or plate tectonics?

  3. Steve Davis says:

    As an English teacher, I see the writing process, especially editing…

    • Jerrid kruse says:

      Hey Steve,
      You’ve really got my brain going with just one sentence. Could you explain how/why you see the writing process?

  4. Steve Davis says:

    Well…The metaphor may not be perfect, but the writing process jumped into my mind when I watched the video!

    A writer starts with an initial idea and writes it down (initial drop of food coloring into tank).

    Then, as I watched the food coloring slowly morph into different shapes/density, I thought how that happens while a writer is drafting.

    Once the food coloring got to the middle of the tank, it appeared to be diluted and almost reluctant to go forward – much like a writer often is stuck midway through a piece and gets writer’s block.

    Often, writer’s block is broken when something external, frequently different from what was happening previously. That is when the big “blob”(can’t tell what color it is!) of food coloring was dropped in around the one minute mark.

    Things really get going in the tank and on the page now!

    The big “blob” then over takes the initial food coloring put into the tank…the idea a writer gets while breaking out of writer’s block often over takes the initial idea.

    When all is finished, you have a piece that is deep (under the surface thinking exhibited) that initially started above/on the surface.

    I feel like I am missing the publication part of the writing process…maybe I should have initially said it was the Creative Process (although I think they parallel each other on the same road).

    I hope all this makes sense!

    • jerridkruse says:

      It makes really great sense! I love it when a concrete demonstration can be applied to an abstract idea like the writing/creative process. I will likely use your note when trying to exemplify the power of concrete representation in all domains to my preservice teachers. Thanks!!!

  5. Pingback: The Writing Process and Science | Rush the Iceberg

  6. Pingback: The Writing Process and Science | Rush the Iceberg

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