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This session is all about Art & Science! Our focus this week was chemistry. We investigated chemical reactions through an artistic lens exploring color and texture as well as our senses.
To do this, we did three experiments:

  • Milk and Dish Soap Watercolor
  • Watercolor Vinegar and Baking Soda Boxes
  • Watercolor and Oil Paintings

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Milk and Dish Soap Watercolor
Materials:

  • Large Container
  • Gallon of Whole Milk
  • Dish Soap
  • Watercolor Paint
  • Pipettes
  • Cotton Swabs

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Fill tub a few inches of milk and distribute watercolors. Have the artists/scientists squeeze the paint slowly, near the surface so that the paint floats on the surface, visible. Be sure not to shake the container or stir the paint.
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Once the surface is sufficiently colorful, have the kiddos dip their cotton swabs in dish soap and watch the surface of the milk.
The paint and milk quickly spreads away from where the soap touches the milk. This is due to dish soap’s chemical composition, which breaks down grease, the fat in the milk is broken down and the watercolor paint makes the reaction visible.
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Watercolor Vinegar and Baking Soda Boxes
Materials:

  • Container
  • Baking Soda
  • Pipettes
  • Vinegar
  • Watercolor Paint

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To set this project up, mix one part watercolor and three parts vinegar, and give each student their own baking soda container. Anywhere between a half or one whole cup of baking soda will work!
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Once the students start with the pipettes, it is a very open-ended project!

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As the projects foamed and the reactions slowed down, we asked all students to pick one final color and we filled the baby food jars up to the brim with vinegar and let them do what we call “the big dump” for one final foam!
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We used glitter watercolors in the studio classroom, and we cannot recommend it enough. It doesn’t show well in the photos, but it was definitely fun to see in person!
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This project is actually very clean and is safe for the skin. Some children will enjoy feeling the fizz. I ask my students to get close and quiet and listen as well.
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Oil and Watercolor Painting
Materials:

  • Watercolor Paint
  • Watercolor Paper
  • Oil
  • Pipettes
  • Spray Bottle
  • Trays (this will get messy)

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This is our intern Sophie demoing the project to the kiddos. We decided to have the students put some oil on the watercolor paper from a jar with a pipette, and then mist the whole sheet with a spray bottle.
We posed the challenge to interested students to spell their name or draw a picture with the oil before we started with the watercolors.
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It is fascinating to watch the watercolor sit and move on top of the oil.
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Watercolor paper can take a good beating. We really let the kids go for the gusto with paint and spray. If you end up[ with big puddles of paint or water you can study “Absorbtion” with a twisted up paper towel.
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We did an initial drying on several layers of newsprint to soak up extra moisture and oil. I did a second drying on a rack before stacking them.

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These look absolutely amazing with the sunlight streaming through. We recommend hanging them in a window for display.

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