Spicy Pepper Science Trick

Try this spicy science trick at home!

  1. Ages: 5 - 8

  2. <30 minutes

  3. A little messy


Materials you'll need

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Sprinkle pepper over a bowl of water.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    APut a tiny bit of dish soap on your finger (or a toothpick).

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Touch the surface of the water. Watch what happens!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Tip

    After a few touches, you’ll need to start over with clean water.

  • Learn moremagnifying icon graphic

    This experiment works because water is pretty sticky, and one of its favorite things to stick to is itself! It’s like each water molecule holding hands with all the other water molecules around it. Scientists call this surface tension.

    Soap, however, ruins all this happy hand-holding. You can imagine a soap molecule like a tiny connector piece with two different ends. One end wants to grab onto water molecules, while the other end wants to push them away. So once soap is added, the surface tension breaks… but only in that one spot.

    The water all around the soapy spot is still holding hands and sticking together. That surface tension stickiness pulls the water towards the edges of the bowl, taking the pepper along with it!

You might also like

Top categoriesBurst graphic

Share what you made & tag us at!