Active Learning Processes is one of the five Learning Areas in our Early Years curriculum and over the last few weeks, we have been very involved in investigating colour. These investigations to date, have included the light box, lots of experimentation with materials and of course paint. In Small Groups this week the children’s thinking was challenged as they were invited to experiment with milk, food dye and detergent. When presented with these ingredients the children discussed what they thought they could do and predict what might happen. Naturally, after all the colour mixing they have done, the children suggested they could drip the food dyes into the milk and make new colours by mixing them together but if that was the case, why did they have green paint? Green is not a primary colour! It took some investigation to discover that the “green paint” was in fact detergent. It was thicker and had a smell! It was harder to suck up into the pippette.
The children began to drip the 3 primary colours into the milk expecting them to make new colours just like with the paint but they quickly discovered that the food colours did not mix together in the milk.
WOW! Look what is happening.
The children found it interesting to observe the speed of the reaction and the way the food dye moved and “swirled” to make the new colours.
After their initial experiment the children documented the reactions using crayons.
After this the children continued to experiment and hypothesise about why the ingredients reacted the way they did. They found the process fascinating and fun.
“It’s like a tornedo in the milk.” “Look at it moving” “It’s still going.”
The children repeated the process over and over again until the milk was lots of strange and interesting colours.
The children still haven’t quite worked out the reason why the ingredients react the way they do but they are certainly enjoying the active discovery process. I’m sure they’ll get there in the end perhaps with a little help and some strategic questioning to scaffold some higher order thinking but for now it’s the wonder in the process.