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Daily Classroom Special: Fibers and Dyes
About this Daily Classroom Special: 
Science to Go
provides easy yet meaningful science activities for grades k-8. Science to Go was written by Barbara Smith, Magnet Coordinator at Harvard Elementary, Houston (TX) and former Teachers Network web mentor.

Fibers and Dyes

Objectives

Compare and contrast, lab safety, following lab procedures.

Activity

Dye fabric samples using a commercial dye and a homemade dye. Cut or tear 3x7 cm cotton fabric swatches (I use two per student). Prepare one batch of yellow commercial dye following directions on package, and dye one half of the swatches. Boil a handful of red onion skins in a quart of water for 10 minutes, add the remaining swatches, and boil for five more minutes. Remove all samples, rinse, and allow to dry. Compare and contrast the samples for hue desirability, color intensity, and cost. Wash the samples and compare colorfastness. Research dyes, mordents, and the history of commercially available dyes.

Which is more ecologically sound? Experiment with other homemade dyes.

Materials: cotton fabric (an old towel, sheet or shirt), one pkg. yellow commercial dye, salt (may be required for commercial dye), pot, water, hot plate, red onion skins (free - the grocer lets me clean out the onion bin!), ruler, scissors.

**Safety consideration - Closely supervise students around hot plate and boiling water. If using an extension cord, tape it to the floor.

Web site Picks for Science

National Park Service Home Page - Natural and cultural features of our national parks, maps, information. Has a section for teachers and students under "Park Smart."

 

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