Chromatography Experiment with a Twist

My 3rd grade students are learning about how Matter changes. We’ve reviewed the processes that change states of matter, so we’ve moved on to Mixtures and Solutions. They know that a mixture is a combination of 2 or more substances, and a solution is a special kind of mixture in which one substance dissolves in another. I told them that a black marker is a solution, and we came up with our testable question.
Since I’m working with 3rd graders here, I developed a worksheet to walk them through the steps of the experiment and the scientific method. (I made 2 versions and ended up using the 1/2 page version to save on paper). You can find both versions and the directions sheet in my TpT Store.
To cut down on as much chaos as possible, I set up the tables with most of the materials they would need to complete the experiment. The only thing they had to do was put water in their containers. For this experiment, we did our data collection with iPads. We used a stop-motion app and took a picture of the progress every 30 seconds. This was an ideal way to record the data because they were then able to look back at the pictures to complete their worksheets. If you don’t have access to iPads or a stop-motion app you can still complete this experiment, just skip the technology component.
Ok this is the moment you’ve been waiting for! You came here to find out which type of marker is the perfect marker right? Well, after trying several (we’re really talking dozens), I took a chance and tried one of my old wet-erase markers and it was PERFECT! All 3 primary colors came out and it was pretty to look at. The green one separates beautifully into yellow and blue too, just in case you were wondering.
Here is an example of the finished product, which I loaded from the stop-motion app onto my youtube channel.
My students absolutely loved this experiment! The worksheets walk them through the steps so at the end we had to write conclusions. We had a bit of time left so I let several students share what they wrote and show their stopmotion videos. It was a hit!

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