This month, we are doing a fun challenge of 31 days of STEM activities for kids. Each day, we do a new activity related to Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math. The first 10 days of the series are all about science. Late to the party? Visit the other posts in the 31 days of STEM activities for kids series here!
Tornado in a Jar Science Experiment
Today’s activity is to learn about vortexes and centripetal force by making a tornado in a jar. We had a lot of fun with this STEM activity!
A tornado (vortex) is formed in the center of a jar when you shake it up. This is due to centripetal force, which forces the water toward the center of the jar. The reason you can see it when you add dish soap is because the soap suds slightly, making the vortex more visible. The glitter is just for fun.
Real-life tornadoes, hurricanes, and waterspouts are all formed from centripetal force.
- Dish soap
- Clear jar
Fill the jar mostly full of water. Drop no more than two drops of dish soap into the mixture.
Add a tiny sprinkle of glitter and close the lid.
Shake using a circular motion to reveal your tornado!
The first tornado we made did not work at all. I think we put too much glitter or possibly soap in it. When I reduced the glitter and soap amount, it turned into a perfect tornado. Monkey thought it was really neat to see a tornado vortex in a jar. She wants to keep it like a trophy in her room.
Visit the other posts in the 31 days of STEM Activities for kids series here!
Get more homeschooling tips for moms in the full 31 days of homeschooling tips for moms series!