Make the Rainbow in Test Tubes Lab


This lab is designed to test a student’s ability to follow instructions. This lab pairs well with the “Peanut Butter and Jelly Lab; Following Instructions Worksheet” we also offer. In this classic lab, students will follow instructions to fill six test tubes with colored water to make the colors of the rainbow.



This lab is suited for middle and high school students, in all science classes. But it is most applicable for chemistry or general science, since measuring liquid volume is the primary scientific skill they will be using. Having said that, a good review on how to properly read the meniscus on a graduated cylinder is probably necessary. The lab itself takes roughly 45-50 minutes to complete.
Materials for the lab include test tubes (6 per set-up), test tube stands or racks, food coloring (red, blue, and yellow), pipets or eye droppers, paper towels for spills, protective eyewear for safety, 10 ml graduated cylinders, 25 ml graduated cylinders, and 250 ml beakers (3 per lab table) to hold the colored water.
I would recommend that you print the lab off on paper instead of using it on the iPads. Spills happen; iPads and water do not mix well. Also, remind the students not to cross contaminate the samples or the main beakers they get the colored water from. As they go down the procedural checklist, remind them to cross off the steps they have completed. Many times, they repeat the same step twice, leading to confusion and frustration.
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