Stick to It: Adhesion II

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Water sticks to all kinds of things in nature — flowers, leaves, spider webs - and doesn't stick to others, such as a duck's back. In this activity, learners explore water adhesion (when water sticks to something else) and cohesion (when water sticks to itself), and how these forces combine to move water along a string. As part of the activity learners come to understand what "variable" means in the context of an experiment.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 1/2-liter bottle with tap water
  • plastic tableclothes
  • two 16-oz plastic cups (label A & B)
  • scissors
  • white cotton string
  • measuring tape
  • masking tape
  • sponge
  • additional white cotton string
  • fishing line
  • thick clothesline
  • twine
  • thread
  • yarn
  • wax-coated string
  • long lengths of white cotton string
  • student journals and writing tools


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemistry of Life
    • Motion and Forces
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, State of New Jersey, 2006

Funding Source:

  • No Child Left Behind Act of 2001