Friday, January 6, 2012

Little Blue and Little Yellow: Color Mixing

Leo Lionni's Little Blue and Little Yellow makes an excellent addition to your study of colors and color mixing. 

Try it with one of these two activities that provide a mess-free hands-on way to mix colors.  If using these activities in conjunction with the story, you'll want to use the appropriate colors.  Or, you could have other colors and have your students write and illustrate their own versions of the story, using the colors they chose. 

Play-Doh Version
Start with two colors of Play Doh .  Use a small amount of each color.
 Knead the two colors together....

 You'll see the colors swirl together at first, and then combine to form a new color:

Here it is next to a sample of the original colors, so you can see what happened. 


You could have a lot of fun creating a Play Doh color wheel, or varying the amount of each color you used to create a whole range of shades.


Colored-Water Version

 Using the same technique used when learning to use a pipette, students can investigate mixing colors in a very simple, non-messy way.

Provide students with a pipette, wax paper, paper towel and  3 small cups - one with blue water, one with red water and one with yellow water.  Food coloring can be used to color the water (a small amount will go a long way), but food coloring does have the potential to stain, should the water spill.  Another option is to use the True Color Tablets available from Steve Spangler Science, which do not stain.

Students use the pipette to place drops of colored water on the wax paper.  They can then drag the different colored drops together and watch the colors mix. 

Challenge your students to make the entire color wheel.  Or see how many different shades of green they can create by mixing varying amounts of blue and yellow water.  Most importantly, allow them time to explore on their own to see what they can learn.

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