Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Mixing Colors

Sheila Spiddle


Students explore and observe primary color combinations on a coffee filter using food coloring and water.


The student identifies and sorts common words from within basic categories (for example, colors, shapes, foods).


-Coffee filters (one for each student)
-Newspaper (to place under coffee filter)
-1 box of food coloring
-4 eye droppers per group
-4 cups per group
-Book: LITTLE BLUE AND LITTLE YELLOW by Leo Lionni: Morrow, William & Co. Sept.1994


1. Gather all materials and place a coffee filter on a piece of newspaper for every student at their seats.
2. Have water already in cups (about half way) with food coloring already dropped in, a cup for every color (red, blue, yellow, green)
3. Place an eyedropper in each cup.


1. To gain the students' interest in this lesson read a story about mixing colors: for example, LITTLE BLUE AND LITTLE YELLOW by Leo Lionni. is a very good one.

2. Next review the students' prior knowledge on colors and what happens when certain colors are mixed together. Be sure to include color words such as blue, yellow, red, the discussion. Write these words on the board or on an overhead chart. Use the correct color of magic marker for each word. Use a red marker to write the word, red.

3. Then lead into an introduction on primary colors. Model with paint how when certain colors are mixed they change into a new color.

4. Place the students in groups at their tables for the activity, with materials already in place. The students will explore the changes in colors by using the primary colors which are in individual cups (water mixed with food coloring: red, yellow, blue, green).

5. The students will place small droppersful of the colors on the coffee filters to explore the mixing colors effect.

6.Remind students of the primary color combinations during the activity. Refer to the color words periodically on the chart or board to reinforce sight word vocabulary and understanding of primary colors.


Teacher observation of:
- individual student dentification of primary colors & words
- indivdual understanding of primary color
combinations as evidenced by the coffee filter
- individual understand by the student that the words in this lesson are all color words
This is a formative assessment and students will need much direction and feedback.


This lesson could lead into a lesson on the color wheel.
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