This is the second lesson of the set of three that my preschoolers took part in while we were studying color theory. Our first activity we used home made play dough to mix secondary colors. In the next lesson I will share a paint mixing activity that teaches color theory. Today, however, I’m sharing a color theory lesson where we used colored vinegar and basking soda to mix secondary colors.
This lesson began by reviewing once again with my preschool students various colors we see around. I displayed several toys and manipulatives on the preschool table and invited the students to handle to objects to identify the various colors. We discussed light and dark colors, as well as less common colors like gray and tan. After giving the students some time to process, I selected three objects from the table that were solely primary colors, completely red, yellow and blue.
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I reminded the students how every color can be made by mixing these three colors in different combinations. Some students volunteered comments as to what colors can be made, and I acknowledged their participation, even if the information wasn’t quite accurate. Then I explained the color mixing acivity.
I poured vinegar into these 2-Ounce Plastic Glasses and then colored each glass according to what the student had selected. They were directed to choose two primary colors, one for each glass, and I placed an eye dropper in each color. I had already prepared a Large Cookie Pan of baking soda for each student. (Use a large sifter to sprinkle about a quarter cup of baking soda on each pan).
Once everyone was set up, I invited the students to use the eye droppers to color the “white powder.” I did not tell the students what to expect or direct them to actually mix the colors. That would come on it’s own.
I love the surprise on this student’s face as he watches the vinegar and baking soda react and foam.
Initially, students began by dropping vinegar into individual places on their baking sheet, and the colors did not mix. however, as the students worked their way through the vinegar in each 2 oz glass, the colors soon began to mix and join together, thus making a secondary color.
I love this activity because the baking soda remains solid enough for the two primary colors to remain visible, and only where the sprinkled baking soda is thinner does it foam enough for the vinegar to mix, creating a new color.
With most activities like this one, I usually allow time for the students to play and experiment until their interest in exhausted, and I did so in the case as well. Usually, we will end such an activity by sharing our work as a class and discussing it, but given the nature of using colored vinegar and baking soda to teach color theory, I talked with each student on a one-on-one basis to have literally an individual conversation with each student about what they were discovering and what they predicted would happen next.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.