Science Sunday-Lava in a Cup

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Lava in a Cup is another fun and easy experiment that helps kids learn about density!

Science Sunday- Lava in a Cup

Welcome to another Science Sunday! Today we are exploring density with this super easy and fun experiment Lava in a Cup!

What You Will Need:

  • 2 clear glasses
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Water
  • Food Coloring

What to do

  1. First fill the glass about 3/4 full of water.
  2. Add about 5 drops of food coloring to each glass. We used red for salt and yellow for sugar.
  3. Slowly pour the vegetable oil into the glass.
  4. Sprinkle the salt or sugar on top of the oil (salt in one glass, sugar in the other).
  5. Watch the blobs of lava move up and down in your glass.
  6. Add another teaspoon of salt or sugar to keep the effect going.
  7. Compare the results of each glass.

How does it work?

While it isn’t really lava it does look a bit like a lava lamp. First the oil floats on the top of the water because it is lighter than the water (think of our rainbow jar experiment), it is less dense.  Since the salt and sugar is heavier than oil, it sinks down into the water and takes some oil with it, but then as the salt and sugar dissolve it brings back up the oil!

Check it out in action!

We would love to see you doing the experiments!

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Lava in a Cup is another fun and easy experiment that helps kids learn about density!

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