Condiment Diver

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In this hands-on activity, learners make the world's simplest Cartesian diver, using only a plastic bottle, some water, and a condiment packet. A Cartesian diver is a classic science experiment that demonstrates the principle of buoyancy and the ideal gas law. Squeezing the plastic bottle filled with water causes the condiment packet to sink. Letting go of the bottle makes the packet rise. What could be more simple?

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Squeeze condiment packet (soy sauce, ketchup, etc.)
  • Clear plastic bottle with tight-fitting lid
  • A glass or cup of water


  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Muller, Eric


  • , Exploratorium,