Science experiments that look like magic are always big hits! And with this pepper experiment, all the ingredients are things that everyone has in their kitchen, so you can do it TODAY!
Science Experiment Set Up
- pie tin
- ground pepper
- liquid dish soap OR a bar of soap
Add the water to the pie tin. Then sprinkle the pepper on the water — really cover it, as the more pepper there is, the more dramatic the experiment will be.
Then ask your child what will happen when she dips her hands in the pie tin. Then let her (nothing will happen). Then ask what if she puts a dab of liquid dishsoap on her fingertips and puts it in. Then let her try! The pepper will scatter away from her finger!
You could also try this with a bar of soap rather than the soap on the finger – it’ll do the same thing!
Watch the trick (the video shows the bar of soap method)
This pepper science experiment looks like magic! But, of course, it’s really science! Water has a high surface tension. The pepper floats on top of the water, but when you add the soap, the surface tension breaks…and the pepper scatters!
I’ve heard that using sugar will send the pepper back. I haven’t had much luck with that though. When we sprinkle sugar the pepper goes back a little – but only if you are really looking for it. Am I doing something wrong? Let me know! Leave me a comment or email me!