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  • Ezra Creighton

Bursts of Color

Updated: May 29, 2019

Materials: Dish soap, a large dish, whole milk, food coloring, and a cotton swab.



1. Fill a dish about 1/4" deep with whole milk.



2. Add drops of various colors of food coloring to the center and around the edges of the milk.


3. Soak one end of the cotton swab in dish soap.


4. Dip the cotton swab in the middle of the milk on top of the colors for a few seconds. Watch what happens!


5. Experiment by dropping the soap at different places around the dish. See what designs you can make.


Why this Happens

The dish soap is the primary cause of this impressive reaction. The main job of dish soap is to find and bond with fat. This is why we use it to wash dishes, but fat is also in milk. The fat in milk is made up of what is called non-polar molecules. That means it doesn’t mix with water because water molecules are polar.


Soap, though, has both a non-polar end and a polar end. When soap is mixed into the milk, the non-polar end of the soap molecules connect to the non-polar fat molecules, and the polar end of the soap molecules connect to polar water molecules. With the soap connection, the non-polar fat is carried away by the polar water. All the molecules of fat are bending, rolling, and twisting in all directions as the soap molecules join up with the fat molecules. It is through all of this that the food coloring molecules are pushed around, letting you view this fascinating display.

Character Teachings

Enthusiasm is putting your whole heart into what you do. A big part of enthusiasm is being an energy-giver. Nothing happens with the milk and food coloring until the soap is added, then there is a striking display! In the same way, when we have enthusiasm, it not only makes things more fun, but it also adds energy to any job.


By itself, the milk and food coloring look nice, but once you add the soap, everything becomes colorfully spectacular! When we have a job to do, we can just do the basics of that job which is good, but not very exciting. But when you add enthusiasm, just like the soap, it makes everything far more exciting!

How can you show more enthusiasm in your life?