Oil and Water in Early Childhood
Levine Academy

While Levine Academy's science program has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards throughout its curriculum, we know that science success begins with our youngest students. We respond boldly to that challenge in our Science Discovery Center, where our Early Childhood students are getting a fantastic foundation in core concepts.

Here's just a recent example of the amazing learning going on for our youngest students:

We all know oil and water do not mix but now our littles know. In Mrs. Stephanie Barta's Early Childhood Science Lab, children saw a demonstration of cooking oil being poured into a jar of tinted water. Students observed the two layers pushing each other away -- no mixing.  After vigorous shaking, the solution was lighter but the particles separated fast after that and there were again two layers. Oil is lighter than water so it floats on the top. Then, they took the same jar and added a squirt of dish detergent - and again shook hard, got a uniform liquid, and the layers did not form. Mrs. Stephanie talked to students about how the oil is all still there but how the detergent causes it to break apart into little spheres and surrounds them making them able to "mix" with the water -- like a big hug. 

The activity to explore that idea involved taking a bowl with a small amount of whole milk in the bottom and ten drops of food coloring.  Students then took a Q-tip dipped in detergent and dripped the detergent on top of the drops of color.  The result was pretty spectacular-there were firework-type shooting patterns where the detergent drop went. The reason for that is that it is breaking up the fat blobs in the milk and that action causes cool movement. Students LOVED the patterns and science in motion.