Elementary/ Middle School

Mixtures, separation, properties

Are candies like M&Ms© and Skittles© coated with the same dye?  Use paper chromatography to separate the dyes and determine if they are the same and if a dye is made of a mixture of dyes!


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Learning Objectives

Students will know

  • Different materials have different properties
  • Attraction to water is a material property

Students will understand

  • Dyes can be made of one or more colored materials
  • Similar colors can be created with different colored materials

Students will be able to

  • Run paper chromatography with colored candies and make observations about the results
Standards Alignment + Connections

Next Generation Science Standards Connections

5-PS1-3: Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Connections

5.5A:Classify matter based on measurable, testable, and observable physical properties, including mass, magnetism, physical state (solid, liquid, and gas), relative density (sinking and floating using water as a reference point), solubility in water, and the ability to conduct or insulate thermal energy or electric energy

How to Run the Experiment

Materials You Will Need

  • Skittles© and/or M&Ms© 
  • Paper towel or coffee filter
  • Aluminum foil
  • Water
  • Two cups
  • Salt
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Mixing bowl or pitcher

Additional Resources