Make a tornado twister - Fizzics Education


Have 10% off on us on your first purchase - Use code NOW10


Tornado in a bottle

Tornado in a bottle

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • Two plastic bottles with the same size with lids
  • A hammer
  • A thick nail to poke a hole in the lids with
  • Thick, waterproof sticky tape
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Water


Tornado in a bottle science experiment - materials needed
1 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - pushing screwdriver through the lid

Make a hole in the centre of two bottle lids using a thick nail.

2 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - connecting the bottles with tape

Using some thick, canvas-backed plastic tape (needs to be waterproof), attach the lids together so that the tops of the lids are touching and the hole goes through both lids.

3 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - materials needed

Fill one bottle 3/4 full with water. Add some food colouring and glitter.

4 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - taped bottles

Attach the lids to the bottles so that one bottle sits on top of the other. Invert so that the water runs from one bottle to the other. Observe what happens.

5 Tornado in a bottle science experiment - showing a young girl a blue tornado in a bottle

Invert the bottles again, and this time, give the bottles a rapid twirl in a horizontal direction. This should start off your vortex, or ‘tornado in a bottle’.

6 Two smiling students watching a blue lava lamp made in a cup with oil, blue food colouring and alka seltzer
7 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

Online courses for teachers & parents

– Help students learn how science really works

Orange read more button

8 A man holding a soda can with tongs and a bunsen burner heating the can base

Get the Unit of Work on Pressure here!

  • Want to dive into air pressure?
  • It’s all about air pressure in many ways!

From how storms form to how planes fly, this unit covers many concepts about air pressure.

Includes cross-curricular teaching ideas, student quizzes, a sample marking rubric, scope & sequences & more

Orange read more button

Why Does This Happen?

The vortex spins because of centripetal force – the one that famously makes an ice skater spinning on the spot twirl faster when his or her arms are pulled into their body. As the water spins, it moves faster at the base of the bottle, where the neck of the bottle is smaller. The faster-moving water pulls the water down into the bottle.

At the same time, air from the bottom bottle is let into the top bottle because of the shape of the vortex, which allows a funnel for the air to flow. Because the air and water can both flow freely while the water is spinning, the water pours into the bottom bottle faster than it did when there was no vortex.

Variables to test

More on variables here

  • Try using different liquids (eg canola oil, honey or glycerine).
  • What happens when you change the size of the opening?
  • Can you make a tornado happen inside a larger bottle?

A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud

Learn more!


2 thoughts on “Tornado in a bottle

  1. The first thing that was a good idea to be able with a little bit of the time and we had to get the rest of the things that we were able to do it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.