Skittle science activity with Fizzics Education | Kids Science Experiments

Skittle science!

Skittle science!

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

Three different coloured Skittles

One sugar cube, or a teaspoon of sugar

Clear water

One flat, shallow white plate.

A mess bucket and cleaning materials

Skittle science experiment - ingredients needed
1 Skittle science experiment - adding water to the plate

Fill the shallow plate with water.

2 Skittle science experiment - position of skittles in the water

Arrange the Skittles in a triangle near the centre of the plate.

3 Skittle science experiment - Skittles in the plate after 1 minute

Allow the colours of the Skittles to spread through the water.

4 Skittle science experiment - Skittles in the plate after 1 minute

The colours should form a cross in the middle of the plate.

5 Skittle science experiment - sugar cube added to center of the plte

Once a coloured cross is formed, place the sugar directly in the middle of the cross.

Watch.

6 Sugar and skittles

Observe the results and explain it!

Why Does This Happen?

This science experiment covers a fundamental part of chemistry – chemicals move from higher concentrations to lower concentrations. This is called a concentration gradient and can be found in everything from perfume vapors wafting through the room to cordial spreading out in water.

When you first add the skittle they start to dissolve in the water, sending the food colours outwards as this happens. The reason that the food colours meet in the middle of the plate as a cross and not mix is because each food colour has the same amount of sugar dissolved from each skittle. Once you add the pure sugar into the center of the food colour cross, the sugar cube beings to dissolve as well. This creates a situation where the most amount of sugar is found in the center of the plate where as the least amount of sugar is found at the edge of the plate (this area is basically pure water). As the sugar dissolved it pushed outwards into the rest of the solution, sending the coloured water outwards as well.

As a teacher, there are a number of opportunities to ask kids for their predictions and answers. They could try changing the variables to see if there is any different effect (eg, hot water vs cold water or different coloured skittles or different sugar types). They could try using M & Ms as well but the chocolate colour does get in way of the experiment.

Also, try adding hot water to a ring of skittles around the edge of the plate!

Skittle science experiment hot water version - adding hot water to the plate of skittles

leads to…

Skittle science experiment hot water version - rainbow end result side view

Recording from a Facebook Live presentation on Skittle Science

Want to join the fun? Join our Facebook site and keep an eye out for the next live science event where you can work with our science presenters who run the experiments with you!

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