This activity is a fun introduction to chromatography while learning about the different planets in our solar system.
The idea is that children create each planet using filter paper while thinking about the size and colour of each one.
It’s impossible to get the size comparisons right as the difference, in reality, is so vast, but you can make some planets smaller than others.
Filter Paper Planets
Felt tip pens ( not permanent )
Choose a planet from the solar system and choose colours to use to make it.
Draw small circles of colour on the filter paper.
Carefully drip water onto each circle using a pipette.
Watch as the colours spread out. You should see some separation of each ink, showing its constituent colours.
Hang the filter papers up to dry and then cut to size.
WHAT IS CHROMATOGRAPHY?
Chromatography is a scientific technique used to separate mixtures.
In this activity, the different colour inks in each felt tip travel at different speeds through the filter paper and so separate. Dark colour inks usually have more different colours than lighter colours.
This activity isn’t ideal for seeing the separation of the ink but looks good, and the colours blur together to look like a planet.
If you want to learn more about chromatography, set up an investigation using just a small dot of each colour felt tip at the bottom of a strip of filter paper and hang it so just the bottom sits in the water and watch as the colours separate as they move up the paper.
Photos and activity taken from THIS IS Rocket Science
More science for kids
Try one of my other space science experiments. You can design, build and test rockets, learn about asteroids and meteorites and lots more.
Walk the solar system by scaling down the vast distances involved!
Last Updated on August 10, 2023 by Emma Vanstone