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Complete the challenge and share your chromatography butterflies on social media with @BramptonLibrary #kidsatBL!

This STEM challenge: 

Learn about chromatography and design butterflies.

Supplies you will need:

  • Coffee filters
  • 1 Black marker + 2 other markers
  • 1 Clear up
  • 1 Paintbrush
  • 4 Pipe cleaners
  • 1 Sheet of parchment paper or wax paper

Learning about Chromatography

Chromatography is the process of separating components of a mixture. In this activity, you will watch as the marker is separated using only coffee filters and water.

Getting Started

1. Place the parchment paper on the table to protect your surface.

2. Place the coffee filter on top of your parchment paper and draw a black circle in the middle of the coffee filter.

3. Fold the coffee filter and place it into a cup of water. 

4. WATCH AND OBSERVE!

  • What do you notice?
  • What do you see?

5. When the coffee filter is soaked with water, you can take it out and let it dry on the parchment paper. 

  • What did the water do? Why does it do that? What changed and why?

Create Butterflies

Using the coffee filters, colour on your coffee filter (make sure the parchment paper is under the coffee filter to protect your surface). Use the paintbrush and water to separate the marker ink. Leave it out to dry.

When your coffee filters are dry, pinch the top and bottom of the coffee filter to the middle and wrap a pipe cleaner around the center to secure. Twist as needed to secure the pipe cleaner.

Now you should have a chromatography butterfly!

Extensions:

  • Find black markers from around the house. Cut up the coffee filter into long strips. Colour one end of each strip with a different black marker. Place the strips into the water and observe. Does the marker change colour?

If you liked this activity, you might enjoy these free resources from our library:

Scientific Experiments for Kids! Chemistry for Kids Series - Children's Analytic Chemistry Books by Baby Professor

Scientific Experiments for Kids! Chemistry for Kids Series - Children's Analytic Chemistry Books by Baby Professor

Chemistry Lab Mysteries, Fun Laboratory Tools! Chemistry for Kids - Children's Analytic Chemistry Books by Baby Professor

Chemistry Lab Mysteries, Fun Laboratory Tools! Chemistry for Kids - Children's Analytic Chemistry Books by Baby Professor

Let's Play the Mad Scientist! | Science Projects for Kids | Children's Science Experiment Books by Speedy Kids

Let's Play the Mad Scientist! | Science Projects for Kids | Children's Science Experiment Books by Speedy Kids

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