Science Sunday: Fireworks shirt, or chromatography

Science Sunday
I saw this wonderful idea for a fireworks t-shirts on a blog I read, just found out it was a link at Our Nifty Notebook (thanks Christy for sharing that on your blog), and followed through to the tutorial without noting down who I first saw it on, so if you did this project this week, can you let me know?

Now, I could have just made this into an art lesson and been done with it, but I remember seeing a couple of science lessons about Chromatography on Almost Unschoolers and All Things Beautiful, so I thought, here’s our science lesson for the week.  Or at least the bloggable one.  My oh so scientific explanation of what happens to food after it enters our body is probably not a great blog post.

SUPPLIES: t-shirt, sharpies, cardboard, rubbing alcohol, eye dropper

sharpie fireworks

First after nearly grabbing the markers out of overly eagerly hands I explained how to draw these.  Lots of dots, like we’re pointillists.  Okay, I didn’t say that part, just thought it.

Then after they’d drawn their amazing pictures I had them guess what will happen when we drop the rubbing alcohol on it.  They mostly got the idea, it would spread out.  Then we theorized what would happen with smaller dots and what would happen with less drops of alcohol.
sharpie fireworks

Now comes the rewarding part, watching the colors spread out.  My kids were quite eager to apply lots and lots of the rubbing alcohol, I had to refill the bottle a couple of times.  Their dots bloomed quite admirably, and it was declared a success.  If not necessarily the patriotic shirts I was going for.

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From left to right, Batman with a bat shirt, Superman with a skeleton, and Princess with flowers………..  But, we did learn a little about some fun science.
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And there’s a truly awful shot of my shirt.  Which looks much better in reality, but I wasn’t particularly trying for a great shot, just a picture.

If you’re interested in some more science behind this, head over to this wikipedia article.

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8 thoughts on “Science Sunday: Fireworks shirt, or chromatography

  1. I didn't realize I missed this many posts. Geesh – it has been a busy week.

    We are doing tie dye this week and we did this for one of our projects. I hope to get my post written today or tomorrow.

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