gator science

active adventures in lower school science

Students Solve Broken Water Main Mystery

on January 31, 2013

On Thursday, January 18th, The Shipley School was closed due to a broken water main in front of the school.  In fifth grade science, students tried to solve the mystery using chromatography techniques.   Each class had six pens with different ink for each suspect in the case.

The six pens were siezed from the suspects and compared to the the note left at the scene.  The evidence was a note that said, “breaking a water main is so fun, five day weekend here I come!”

Students used a chromatography system that included water as the solvent and paper as the medium.  The ink spread dramatically up the paper and revealed different color patterns.  After the lab students saw a 3D model of the chromatography using a fan and different sized objects.   Students drew a model of the water molecules carrying the different pigments up the strip of paper.

If you want to know the answer to the mystery, just ask a fifth grader what they learned in the lab !

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