Bottle fountain science activity : Fizzics Education

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Bottle fountain science activity

Bottle fountain science activity

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • 1 soda bottle
  • Water
  • 1 funnel
  • 1 balloon
  • Blu Tack
  • 1 straw with a bend in it
  • 1 tray to catch excess water
  • Optional blue food colouring
  • A boxcutter (with adult help)

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1 A boxcutter making a hole in the side of plastic bottle

With adult help, carefully make a small hole in the side of the plastic bottle with the boxcutter.

2 A pink straw pushed through the side of plastic bottle

It can be worth cutting away some of the plastic completely rather than making an ‘X’ shape, this will allow the straw to sit easily in the hole.

3 Straw sticking out of the straw with blu tak holding the straw

Seal around the straw with Blu Tack or modelling clay. make sure that the bottle is dry here or the Blu Tack won’t stick as well. Keep the star pointed upwards.

4 food dye about to be poured into the container

Optional: add some food colouring to your water

5 Pouring the water into the bottle fountain with a funnel

Add the funnel to your bottle and carefully pour your water into the bottle.

You’ll notice that water will rise up through the straw to the same height as the water inside the bottle. This is due to equal air pressure pushing downwards through the opening of the straw and the bottle.

6 Holding a balloon on the bottle fountain

Blow up a balloon and pinch the opening tightly. Carefully stretch the opening of the balloon over the mouth of the bottle without letting go of the neck of the balloon.

7 Water spurtining out of the straw

Quickly release the balloon and watch the fountain stream out!

8 Water still spurting out of the straw

The water will continue to stream outwards as long as both the end of the straw is in the water inside the bottle and that the balloon continues to push air into the bottle.

9 A television screen showing a distance educator running science experiment with a bell jar, vacuum pump and a cup of water. There is an inset of a remote class on the screen and a video conference camera on top of the television.

Why Does This Happen?

It’s all about air pressure! When the bottle was open, the air pressure pushing down the neck of the bottle and the straw opening was the same. This is why water was able to be at the same height inside the straw as well as the bottle, even when you filled past the opening. By adding an inflated balloon and releasing it, you created a pressure difference between the neck of the bottle and the straw opening. As there was a higher air pressure within the bottle than within the straw, the water got pushed out as stream.

Variables to test

More on variables here

  • What happens when you turn the straw upside down? Try this when the water level is above the straw opening height.
  • Would the stream of water be a different length with a larger or smaller balloon?
  • What would happen if this was done on a mountain top vs sea level?
  • Try adding a curly shaped straw to your experiment.
  • What would happen if you have two or three straws attached?

Learn more!

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