Cat's Meow

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In this chemistry activity, learners are asked to form a hypothesis about the behavior of milk as household detergents act upon it. Learners will observe a swirling effect occurring between the milk and the detergent due to the hydrophobic fat globules within the milk. Use this activity to introduce this phenomenon and/or the scientific method.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • large glass Petri dish or aluminum pie pan
  • wooden splint or toothpick
  • liquid dish detergent
  • milk
  • food color (4 different colors)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Science Festivals Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access with registration