Using Color to See How Liquids Combine

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Learners add different liquids (water, salt water, alcohol, and detergent solution) to water and observe the different ways the different liquids combine with water. The liquids are colored yellow and the water is colored blue to aid in observing the combinations. After carefully observing the combining liquids in this activity, learners can identify them as unknowns in the related activity, "Using the Combining Test to Identify the Unknown Liquids" from the same resource (see related resources). [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Tap water
  • Isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70%)
  • Detergent
  • Salt
  • 5 Droppers
  • 5 Small cups
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • Toothpicks
  • Paper towels
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Blue food coloring
  • Student Activity Sheet


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations


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:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


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


  • All rights reserved, American Chemical Society, 2007