Cardinal Schools News


A mind-blowing science experiment for our first graders this week! Science consultant, Mr. Claire Zurbuch (aka Mr. Z.) visited students and provided a lesson on liquid density. The underlying idea is that liquids that are less dense (lighter) will rise, or float to the top since we are working with liquid. We caught up with Mr. Z in Mrs. Jan Maxwell’s class where he was bringing the concept to life for our first graders.

Each student was given a beaker of warm water (colored red), and a beaker of cold water (colored blue.) A clear, thin plexiglass square with a string attached was placed on top of the water beaker that was not anchored. That beaker and the plexiglass were then flipped over to rest on top of the other beaker that was anchored to a piece of wood. Mr. Z. and Mrs. Maxwell then walked around to each student’s desk holding the water beakers while the students pulled out the plexiglass separating the two containers of water.

Students conducted the experiment twice, once with the cold water on top and the second time with the cold water on the bottom. Students discovered that when the cold water was on the top, the warm water on the bottom quickly mixed in, thus turning all of the water purple. However, when the cold water was on the bottom, the two colors of water stayed separated – with the red staying on the top and the blue staying on the bottom. Since we know that lighter, less dense elements rise, students can conclude that hot water is far lighter than cold water.

We always enjoy this experiment and seeing the look of wonder on students’ faces when they discover that water can “stand” on top of each other! Thanks Mr. Z for another lesson learned!


First grader Savannah L. watches as hot water (red) and cold water (blue) remain separated after pulling a plexiglass divider from between the two. The students were conducting a science lab on liquid density, learning that warm elements rise. Teacher Mrs. Jan Maxwell assisted students.



First grader Ethan K. watches excitedly as he pulls plexiglass from between containers of hot and cold water while teacher Mrs. Jan Maxwell assists. Students were learning about liquid density and discovered lighter elements rise, while heaver, more dense elements do not.