Today was such a fulfilling experience. First I showed them pictures of colors and brought them to, some colors are made of a mixture of colors (aka blue and red make purple), then that purple is made up of tiny little bits of blue and red, and then that we can separate them. They did an awesome demo where one of them held the table and the other held a tiny toy wheel. I told them that to separate it, they would have to move across the room. Obviously, the girl with the tiny wheel was much faster than the girl with the table. This is how they understood that small objects go farther faster, which is the most basic premis of chromatography. Then I showed them a video depicting a mixture of colored particles going through a column and being separated. Then I actually did a chromatography strip.
Next came the brilliance of our crime scene. In a very serious tone, I told the girls that someone had stolen the candy we give them at the end of each activity and that we had to find out who did it. They all completely took the bait and became very focused on figuring it out. I told them that the culprit had left a note saying “I did it” and that I had, beforehand, done some sloothing and found out what kind of pens 5 suspects used (4 mentors and 1 West End House staff person). I made a list of all of their names and pens and had them run a dot of each kind of pen. It was truly adorable because each of them came to their realizations separately. I would bring them over to the board ask which number dot looked most like the note, they chose number 5, looked at whose pen that was, and realized it was me! Their face was so cute!! I immediately told each of them to keep it a secret until everyone had figured it out, They were so excited when I pulled them all back together to and they all got to shout out together that it was me. I told them it was and that I know where the candy was and that I would go and get it.
Then I had them use a mystery solution to see what color food dyes I had mixed (red, blue, and yellow so they got a rainbow). That was neat as we used capillary tubes, so the girls never actually used the good dye. The mentors were in charge of using the capillary tubes to take up the food dye, but the girls could blot it. It was pretty impressive because when we re-grouped, they were able to tell me which color was on top and bottom and which was therefore smaller or larger or faster or slower. It was so wonderful!
Then we opened the flood gates and let their creativity flow for a while. They used all the pens and markers to test out and create their own pieces of art. One of our girls made a lovely flower out of her filter paper pieces.
In the end, we all regrouped, and upon asking for the word of the day, they all immediately called out Chromatography!! which none of them could pronounce at the beginning of the experiment 🙂 They were able to give me a great explanation of Chromatography too. I was so proud. They all signed our word of the day sheet and I showed them a pretty video of a flower pattern made using chromatography.
Almost everyone was so positive. It was such a joy.