Jordak Elementary School first-grader Ethan Koch pulls the plexiglass divider from between containers of hot and cold water, dyed red and blue respectively, while teacher Jan Maxwell assists. Students learned about liquid density and discovered lighter elements rise, while denser elements do not.

Kristie Steyer 440-632-0261, ext.1000

First-graders study liquid density

Science consultant Claire Zurbuch, or Mr. Z, visited students at Jordak Elementary School and provided a lesson on liquid density. The underlying idea is that liquids that are less dense will float to the top.

In Jan Maxwell’s science class, Mr. Z guided the first-graders through an experiment where each student received a beaker of warm water dyed red and a beaker of cold water dyed blue. A clear, thin plexiglass square with a string attached was placed on top of the water beaker that was not anchored. That beaker and the plexiglass were then flipped over to rest on top of the other beaker that was anchored to a piece of wood. Mr. Z. and Mrs. Maxwell then walked around to each student’s desk holding the water beakers while the students pulled out the plexiglass separating the two containers of water.

Students conducted the experiment twice, once with the cold water on top and the second time with the cold water on the bottom. Students discovered that when the cold water was on the top, the warm water on the bottom quickly mixed in and turned the water purple. When the cold water was on the bottom, however, the two colors of water stayed separated. Because of this, students concluded that cold water is denser than hot water.

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