cart Shopping Cart cart(0)

Suspended bottle experiment

You will need:

  • A Coke bottle or any other plastic screw top bottle (the smaller the better)
  • Uncooked Rice
  • A pencil or chopstick or any other straight rod

    Copyright notice




  1. Fill the bottle with uncooked rice.
  2. Plunge the pencil straight down into the bottle.
  3. Try to lift the bottle just by the pencil. Doesn't work too well...
  4. Now try plunging the pencil in and out at least 30 - 40 times for compaction.
  5. Can you now lift the bottle off the table just using the pencil? Why does this work?

    Rice bottle lift
  6. This experiment is worth running over a large bowl in case to catch any mess!
Doesn't work? Try putting the pencil into the rice at different heights each time.
Be Amazing Book Front Cover; Ben Newsome, teacher & founder of Fizzics Education. Be Amazing -how to teach science the way primary kids love
Be Amazing!
How to teach science, the way primary kids love

Read more about Be Amazing
Want more ideas for teaching science?

Subscribe to the FizzicsEd Podcast!

Listen to FizzicsEd on Apple Podcasts

FizzicsEd podcast available on Stitcher

Why does this work?

The more contact between two surfaces, the great the friction. When you push the pencil in and out of the rice you are slowly compacting the rice and pushing air out of the container. This means that more and more rice gets in contact with your pencil which slowly but surely increases the friction between the rice and the pencil. Eventually there is so much friction you can lift the rice-filled jar or bottle into the air as the frictional forces are greater than the force of gravity.

Other friction experiment: Skewer through a balloon
Join our newsletter for more science teaching thoughts & ideas

Join the Fizzics newsletter

Back to Force & Movement experiments
  • Learn about friction vs. gravity
  • Can students fairly test different surfaces?

    science kits for sale
wheel spin during a Fizzics science show

Forces, Friction & Movement School Science Visit

  • Explore friction, rotational inertia & more
  • Hands-on science for primary students
read morebook now

>100 Free Science Experiments on this site!

Coloured shadows
  • Experiments to colour your class!
  • Easy & fun
read more
skeleton and student
  • Make fake blood & more!
  • Biology made simple
read more
electricity experiments
  • Circuit science for kids
  • Cheap materials found easily
read more
Sugar and skittles dissolving in water experiment
  • Creative chemical concoctions!
  • Safe and engaging for kids
read more

School Science Visits: 

  • Highly engaging & curriculum-linked
  • Additional Teacher Support Resources
  • Professional visits in-class or via video conference
  • Both Primary School & High School science incursions
Call 1300 856 828 or use this form to discuss or make a show booking for your school!

Love Science?

Signup to our fortnightly email! Learn more

Contact us

1300 856 828

Unit 10/55 Fourth Ave
Blacktown, NSW 2148, Australia
facebook-icon Apple Podcast Icon  twitter-icon
linkedin-icon youtube-icon   pinterest-icon