Edible Science: Fireworks in a Jar
Updated: Jul 18, 2020
Happy Memorial Day to STEM Spark readers who live in the USA! Jack, Bobby, and I are celebrating the 3 day weekend by remembering those that we've lost as well as enjoying sometime together as a family (away from our day jobs; yay no work!). Part of our time together will of course involve STEM, and I found this cool edible science experiment Fireworks in a Jar on Pinterest. Jack and I tried this edible science experiment out, and while it took us 6 (maybe 7? 8?) tries to even remotely match the pictures we saw on Pinterest, it was a fun to finally see an "explosion" of "fireworks" in the jar! Read on to see what you'll need to perform this edible science experiment at home!
Water in a Mason Jar or Other Clear Container
Vegetable or Canola Oil
1) Poor the oil on top of the water in the mason jar. We had better success when the water was warm versus cold. We also made sure that there was a pretty thick layer of oil on top.
2) Poor drops of food coloring on top of the oil (in the jar). We had better success when we used two colors that were contrasting or only one color.
3) Watch the food coloring "explode" through the layer of oil into the water. This explosion of color is the "firework".
We also did a different method than what we saw on Pinterest, so let us know in the comments if you have better success with another method or our method. That's the fun of at home science experiments: there is more than one way to do it and some ways work better than others! Scientific America has a great explanation of the science behind why oil and water don't mix; click here for their explanation. So basically what happens in the Fireworks in a Jar edible science experiment, the oil is less dense than the water, and so it floats (or sits) on top of the water. Then you add the food coloring drops, and since the food coloring drops are more dense than the oil, they sink or explode through the oil, making a firework in the water.
Of course, oil, water, and food coloring isn't exactly the most tasty thing to eat, but I call this science experiment edible science because all of the ingredients are digestible, making it a great science experiment to perform with younger children (and of course older children can do it too!). Have a great holiday weekends to our fellow Americans, and have a great weekend to all of our STEM Spark readers! Happy STEM-ing!