Science Experiment: Density – Layer Column

Science Experiment: Density – Layer Column

More Science Experiments


How to Make a Liquid Rainbow

In today’s experiment you will see how materials that have different density behave when they are put in the same jar or glass. Density  is how close together the molecules of a substance are or how much srpdensitysetupmass a substance has in a given space. If you have one cup of jelly beans and one cup of marshmallows…the jelly beans have more mass…there is more “stuff” compacted into the cup. The marshmallows are mostly air. If you put each of those cups in a microwave to melt…the sugar and water that makes up the jelly beans would almost fill the cup to the top. The sugar and water that makes up the marshmallows would only fill the cup a little bit because marshmallows have less mass, they are mostly made of air. Materials with more density weigh more. A cup of jelly beans weighs more than a cup of marshmallows.

If you pour several materials of varying density in a jar, the materials with more density are heavier and will sink to the bottom. Watch this happen be putting several household materials in a jar. If you use materials that are different colors you will see layers in the jar.srpdensitypour3

You Will Need:

  • Tall Jar or Glass
  1. Honey
  2. Light Corn Syrup w/ red food coloring in it
  3. Blue Dish Soap
  4. Water w/green food coloring in it
  5. Vegetable oil
  6. Rubbing Alcohol

Slowly pour a layer of each substance in the glass jar. Try to be pour carefully so that there are no smudges on the sides of the jar. Pour the substances in order 1-6. Once you are done and have observed the layers, put a lid on the jar and give it a couple shakes. How do the layers look now? Let the jar sit for an hour. Now how do the layers look?

Science Experiment Idea:

Gather five small glass containers – small jars or glasses…baby food jars would be perfect. Carefully fill the first container halfway with honey, the second container halfway with light corn syrup (w/red food coloring in it), the third container halfway with blue dish soap, the fourth container halfway with vegetable oil and the last container halfway with rubbing alcohol. Now fill a small pitcher with water and add green food coloring to it. Use the green water to fill up each jar to the top.

For each substance, guess whether it will be more or less dense than water. Will the water stay on top or will it form a layer below? Materials with more density weigh more. Any substance that has more density than water will remain the bottom layer. Any substance with less density than water will rise to the top.

Websites and Databases for Research:

More IndyPL Experiments about Density:

Science in Context: Density is a database you can use in any IndyPL Library Branch or at home. Login using your IndyPL library card number. The Science in Context database will show you articles, images and videos to help you learn about density.​



You can also ask a math and science expert for homework help by calling the Ask Rose Homework Hotline. They provide FREE math and science homework help to Indiana students in grades 6-12.



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