How to Make Sugar Density Rainbow – Science Activity Video

A science activity video about density and creating a stunning sugar rainbow within a straw straight from OMSI educators! 

Courtesy:  Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

Do you know the water of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean meet at Cape Horn but never mix? Well, this because of the difference in the density of water. The water of the Atlantic Ocean is denser than that of the Pacific Ocean. This is clearly explained in this four minute video by educator Alexe in this Sugar Rainbow science lesson.

What is sugar density rainbow?

You may have seen a rainbow on a rainy day. A rainbow appears mostly after the rain when the sun rays pass through water droplets, and the sunlight is spread out in a band of colors. Now, do you know that you can also create a rainbow at home? 

The sugar density rainbow is a creative way to know how water with different densities stacks on top of each other in a straw. So, just try the science experiment about density and know about density engagingly. 

Steps to make sugar rainbow experiment

Raw materials 

4 plastic cups filled with an equal quantity of water 

1 clear plastic straw

4 food coloring agents (Blue, red, yellow, and green)

1 bowl of sugar

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Steps to follow

  1. Add a generous dose of different coloring agents in each of the glass. So, you have four glasses with blue, red, yellow, and green colored water.
  2. Now add a spoonful of sugar in the first cup and stir it properly to let the sugar completely dissolved. Add two spoonful’s of sugar in the second cup, three spoonful’s of sugar in the third cup, and four spoonful’s of sugar in the fourth cup.
  3. Now grab the clear straw and place it half an inch in the first cup that has only one tablespoon of sugar. Cap the other end of the straw with your thumb before you lift it from the water.
  4. Now place the same straw carefully in the next cup a little bit deeper. Next, in a quick move, release your thumb from the other end and recap the other end again.  
  5. Repeat the same move for the rest of the cups carefully. 
OMSI Sugar Density Rainbow - Science Experiment for Kids

Observation- Once you have completed all the steps, you will observe that you have successfully stacked all the four colors in the straw without letting them mix with each other. So, the green-colored water with the highest amount of sugar is at the bottom, and the blue colored water with only one spoonful of sugar is at the top. In a nutshell, you will get a rainbow of colors because of the difference in density.  

Interested in more density science experiments? Check out :

Make DIY Lava Lamp at Home

Create Fireworks in Oil & Water

You can also conduct the rainbow experiment with different liquids to figure out which one has high density and which one has a lower density. Rainbow in a jar is one such experiment. Do you want to know how to create a rainbow in jar?

Rainbow In a Jar – Science Experiment

Let’s have a look at the raw materials and the steps to follow.

Raw materials you will need

For the same, you just need a jar, 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup water, a spoon, and food coloring tablets. 

Steps to follow

  1. Add blue coloring into the ½ cup dishwashing liquid, and green coloring agent to ½ cup water. Now pour both of these gently into the glass jar one by one.
  2. Next, pour the ½ cup olive oil carefully into the jar.
  3. Add a few drops of red coloring into the ½ cup rubbing alcohol and slowly pour the red liquid into the jar. 

You will soon observe a rainbow inside the jar as the separation between all the liquids will be distinctly visible, and you will notice that the liquid with the highest density will be at the bottom and that with the lowest density will be at the top. You will find that olive oil and rubbing alcohol are less denser than dishwashing liquid and water. 

This amazing video of the sugar rainbow experiment gives a deep insight into density and the way to learn about the density while having loads of fun at home. By dropping various objects in a cup of water, kids can also know which has less density and which has more density than water. 

Now, what is this density?  

According to educator Alexe in this science activity video, density is how scientists talk about how crowded something is. For example, if you drop one little ball into a cup, the ball will have plenty of space to move around inside the cup, and this means low density. 

On the other hand, if you take plenty of balls of the same size and fill the same cup, this will mean that its a lot denser! So, here we can also say that density is a physical property that measures how closely packed the particles are in solid, liquid, or gas. 

The most exciting part of learning about density is that you can learn about the same with the help of easy experiments that you can do yourself with things that you may have at your home! One such experiment is the float and sinks experiment.

What is the float and sink experiment? 

Have you ever wondered by a wooden log manages to float on the water surface, but an iron rod of much smaller in size sank within no time? This is because whether an object sinks or floats in water do not just depend on its size or weight. It also depends on density. Wood is less dense than water, and so it floats. However, an iron cube of the same or lesser size sank because iron has more density than water. You can take a cup of water and can drop a wooden cube and an iron cube in the cup to find out about the difference in density yourself! However, nothing will seem to you more exciting when you will perform the sugar density rainbow experiment. 


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