Skip to main content

Chromatography science activity

What you need

  • Pencil
  • Water-soluble black marker 
  • Coffee filter paper 
  • Glass jar or cup
  • Water


  • Developing communication skills and encouragement of developing vocabulary
  • Exploring creativity
  • Teaching children about colours

The experience

Using the pencil, draw a line 1cm from the bottom of the coffee filter paper. Then, using the marker, draw a short line over the pencil mark. Pour a little water into the glass (enough to cover the bottom), place the paper bottom down into the glass ensuring the pencil line is above the water level. The water will travel up the paper and begin to separate the solvent revealing a mix of colours, remove the paper from the glass and discuss the different colours you can see which have separated from the black ink.