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Little Hands Experiment with Milk
Jan 10, 2012

For some reason, milk is the main drink my kids beg for, but rarely finish the entire drink before it's left to lie somewhere, forgotten and alone. Usually, I find these cups half full of milk, not incredibly old, but way too old for me to allow them to drink it. If you often find yourself in this predicament, why not play with it before pouring it down the drain?

Place the milk in a shallow container, and drop several drops of food coloring in the middle. Without stirring, dip a q-tip, toothpick, wooden scewer, or whatever into the middle and let your child see how nothing happens. Next, drip the other end into dishwashing soap, then dip it back into the center of the milk, leaving it for 10 to 15 seconds. Watch the color explosion! No stirring as you watch the colors move around on their own. They can then try putting the Q-tip at different places in the bowl to see how the colors move. Eventually, you'll have a bowl of green or brownish milk, because you won't be able to keep your child from stirring it of course.

It works because dishwashing soap is bipolar, and its hydrophilic (water loving) part dissolves in the water in milk, while the hydrophobic (water fearing) side chases around trying to attach to a fat molecule in the milk. The fat moves all around as the molecules attach themselves as quickly as possible, and the action slows as it becomes more mixed. Science experiment waiting in your old milk, who knew?!

Until next time,

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