Color Me Blue

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In this activity, learners add dilute bleach solution to water that has been dyed with yellow, blue, and green food color. Using a chemical reaction (bleaching), learners can identify different components in a mixture. The activity also includes the opportunity to investigate the nature of variables, constants and experimental design. This activity guide includes extensions on page 10, which allow learners to investigate concentration and chromatography. Part of the 21-activity guide published by OMSI, No Hassle Messy Science with a Wow. All activities in this guide use household materials and all lesson plans include preparation directions, demonstrations, procedure sheets, cross-curricular connections, and scientific explanation of content.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 3 8 oz. clear plastic cups
  • blue, green, lemon yellow food coloring
  • plastic spoons
  • eyedroppers or disposable pipettes
  • small plastic cups or jars for food coloring
  • pop-top squeeze bottles
  • liquid bleach (less than ⅛ cup)
  • teaspoon measure
  • towels and sponges for clean up


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry


  • All rights reserved, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 2007

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation