Most kids are used to mixing colors with paints or play dough, but have your children had the chance to try separating color mixtures? In this science experiment for kids we’ll be exploring chromatography (separating mixtures). We’ll use coffee filters to separate the various pigments in markers to see how each color was created! 


Materials for Science Experiment & Butterfly Craft

  • Non permanent markers (Over the years I’ve found Mr. Sketch markers work the best in this experiment.)
  • White coffee filters
  • Pencil
  • Cups of water
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • String
  • Scissors

Procedure to Chromatography Science Experiment

1. Choose one marker to experiment with first. (black and brown are the most exciting!)
2. Take one coffee filter. Put it on a newspaper or some kind of material to protect your table. Draw a thick circle around the center of the coffee filter where the ridged part meets the flat center. Use a pencil to write the color of the marker being used right in the center. (You’ll want to know what the original color was being  used, and the pencil won’t smear and will remain intact after the experiment.)


3. Fold the coffee filter in half and then in half again, resulting in a cone shape.
4. Get a short glass of water. Pull apart the cone shaped coffee filter so it balances right on the glass with the tip of the cone just touching the water. (Be sure NOT to let the marker circle go in the water, just the uncolored tip of the coffee filter cone.)


5. Let it sit and watch what happens as the water begins to flow up the paper.

6. Repeat with different colored markers. Here are ours starting out…


… and just about done!

7. After the water has reached the outer edge of the coffee filter, place it on a newspaper to dry. 


Directions for Using Coffee Filters to Make the Butterfly Craft

1. Cut your black pipe cleaners in half.


2. Take one coffee filter and scrunch it up in the middle.

3. Wrap a black pipe cleaner around the center.

4. Shape the ends to form antennae.


5. Tie a string to the center and hang!


Share with us Your Chromatography Butterfly

Send us your pictures to the following email address (rcs@edupix.org) or tag us on social media

Attention all RCS parentS

Due to the forecast of increment weather on tomorrow, Friday, January 21, 2022, tomorrow will be a Remote Learning Day for all students, teachers, and staff. This notification is also available on local news stations WBTV-3 and WSOC-TV. Students are expected to engage in “Interactive Remote Learning” with their classroom teacher at 9:00am via Google Meets or Zoom per teacher’s instruction, as attendance will be taken and recorded

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