Test Density with a Supersaturated Solution

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Learners create three solutions with different levels of salinity. They compare the density of these solutions by coloring them and layering them in a clear plastic cup and in a soda bottle. Learners will also investigate how a liquid's density affects objects that are put into it. This experiment connects with estuary environments (habitats where fresh water and ocean water mix) and also contains a brief discussion of one of the saltiest seas on earth, the Dead Sea in the Middle East.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • a pitcher
  • a long spoon
  • 3 drinking glasses (all the same size)
  • warm water
  • table salt
  • a spoon
  • blue and red food coloring
  • 2 identical soda bottles with a regular neck (not wide)
  • an unsharpened pencil
  • a funnel (that fits inside the top of the soda bottle)
  • a ruler


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • 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


Source Collection

  • Ology


  • All rights reserved, American Museum of Natural History,