surface tension science experiment

This science experiment will introduce students to the concept of “surface tension.” The pepper is a little like sin in our lives, and chidren will get to see how it behaves when coming in contact with liquid soap.


– Clear glass bowl
– Water
– Liquid soap
– Black pepper


Colossians 3:13 says to “bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Obviously, it is very hard to forgive others or the Apostle Paul would not have said this. Let’s see what happens in this experiment with pepper and soap and see what it can teach us about forgiveness.


– Fill clear glass bowl with water.
– Sprinkle black pepper into the bowl.
– Drop liquid soap into the center of the bowl.


Water molecules generally adhere to each other–until something comes along that is either heavy enough or powerful enough to separate them. When this is not the case, water molecules will line up in a way that gives the top of the water surface tension. Because pepper flakes are so light and do not absorb water, they will float in the tension.

Soap is able to break down the surface tension of water, which is a reason why soap is such a good cleaner. As the soap moves into the water, the surface tension starts to change. In attempt to maintain what surface tension it can, the water molecules pull back away from the soap and carry the pepper along with them.


The pepper is a little like our sins. The soap is like our thinking, which tends to push sins like un-forgiveness to the edge of our minds so we don’t have to think about it. But while it is no longer the focus of our thoughts, our lack of forgiveness is still there. We need God and Jesus’ help to remove it. That’s why we should “give Him” our bad thoughts, which is a form of confession.



You might also be interested in these other awesome science experiment ideas!

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