Science with m&ms!

This week's lab in my honors and academic (college-prep) chemistry classes I separated the dyes on m&m candies using paper chromatography.  I love this lab - especially because the equipment and chemicals are all non-hazardous.  Enough to make a high school chemistry teacher have piece of mind while this lab is taking place in their classroom - and now a days, that's HUGE!

The students love it because they get to see the colors migrate up the paper and it's applicable to their everyday life.  Some teachers who have done this lab before recommend using coffee filters, but I find that because they are usually so thin it can be hard to see the color separation.  That's why I use filter paper.  I cut the edges of the circles to leave a rectangle, and it works like a charm.  Here are some pictures of my students completing the lab - I'm always amazed how well the NaCl solution separates out the dyes! 

The students really did a nice job.  And clean up is a snap - no messy chemicals or glassware to clean.  The post-lab questions make assessing your student understanding easy.  This product is available on my TeachersPayTeachers site - and great for younger students all the way up to high school.  It even includes a helpful teacher prep guide that tells you everything you need to carry out this lab with ease.  Instruction for setup and making the solution are provided as well.  Try it - your students will really enjoy this activity as mine have!

Ms. Razz is an enthusiastic chemistry teacher in New Jersey.  She often counts herself to sleep at night using molecules or by reciting Avogadro's number. (For real.) She believes that every student has the power to learn anything, even chemistry.  After all, she remembers this hustle didn't always come easy to her. She's also a Teachers Pay Teachers seller and you can view and purchase her lessons here.

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