Dissolving a Substance in Different Liquids

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In this activity, learners make colored sugar and add it to water, alcohol, and oil to discover some interesting differences in dissolving. The sugar will dissolve to a different extent in each liquid, and the color may or may not dissolve depending on the liquid. Learners also have an opportunity to refine their definition of the term dissolve. Adult supervision recommended. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org. Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Isopropyl rubbing alcohol, 70%
  • Sugar
  • Food coloring
  • Zip-closing plastic bag, sandwich size
  • 3 Clear plastic cups
  • 3 Popsicle sticks or stirrers
  • 1 Teaspoon
  • Student Activity Sheet


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Kessler, James H. ; Galvan, Patricia M.


  • All rights reserved, American Chemical Society, 2007