Rice Handle

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this physics activity, learners attempt to lift a jar full of rice using only a spoon. In so doing, they explore the effects of density, gravity and resisting forces on any given object, and discover that the friction between the rice and spoon (caused by the rice's density) allows the jar to seemingly ignore gravity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Plastic spoons
  • Uncooked, dry rice - enough to fill bottles
  • 10-15 vitamin or spice bottles
  • 10-15 trays to catch spilled rice


  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • 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 teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009