Science experiment: Surface tension

Science experiment: Surface tension

Teaching the kids about surface tension and other cool science-y things is more fun when you can show them. Grab your supplies and get ready for some great science fun in the kitchen.

What you need:

  • small bowl
  • ground pepper
  • dishwashing liquid
  • cocktail stick

Number of players:


Half fill a small bowl with water.

Sprinkle pepper on the surface of the water, forming a small layer.

With your cocktail stick, firstly dip this in the washing-up liquid.

Then dip the tip of the stick in the middle of the water.

As the washing-up liquid touches the water, what is happening to the pepper?

The pepper should spread out and merge together forming patterns.

Why? Because the washing-up liquid reduces surface tension and allows the the particles of water at the surface to spread out more.

Image from Shutterstock

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