Lifting Lemon

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In this physics demonstration, learners will be surprised when a lemon slice appears to magically levitate within a pint glass. This is a simple trick that involves several complex physical processes that learners can explore, including air pressure, combustion, oxidation-reduction reactions, and atmosphere. This activity guide includes a helpful video that demonstrates each step of the demonstration. Note: this activity involves a flame.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • slice of lemon
  • four matches
  • pint glass
  • ashtray
  • water


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Thermodynamics and Entropy
    • Chemistry
      • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
    • Motion and Forces
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Institute of Physics,