If you want to try more science activities and experiments with your kids, one of the best experiments to start with is the magic pepper experiment. This experiment teaches kids about surface tension and what happens if you change the surface tension of water. Little kids especially love to see this experiment and action and will beg to try the science experiment over and over again.
MATERIALS NEEDED FOR THE MAGIC PEPPER EXPERIMENT:
It doesn’t take much to teach kids about surface tension in this super fun, super simple science experiment!
You’ll need just a few things for this activity:
This activity is traditionally done with pepper only, but we wanted to see if it would work with other materials as well. Scientific inquiry at its best!
First, we tried the classic pepper experiment. Once the dish soap was added, it suddenly sprinted to the edges of the container.
Next, we tried glitter.
Glitter had the exact same results.
Finally, we tried chili powder. The chili powder sunk to the bottom of the container. But when we put the toothpick all the way to the bottom of the container, it had similar results there, moving the chili pepper away from the toothpick.
THE SCIENCE LESSON
The magic pepper science experiment is a lesson in surface tension. Ordinarily, pepper flakes are lighter than the water, which is why they float on top. But, the surface tension of the water keeps the flakes in place, unless the container is shaken. But when you add dish soap to the mixture, suddenly the surface tension is removed, causing the pepper flakes to fly outward suddenly to the edges of the container. It’s just like how water is difficult to move through, but when you skate on ice, you slip and slide like crazy!